By Tanna Friday
For The Tribune
SPRINGVILLE — Fire Chief Richard Harvey spoke before the Springville City Council last Thursday requesting the city’s participation with neighboring fire departments in a regional grant.
“There is a regional grant, Assistance Firefighters Grant (AFG), that we have an opportunity to participate in for technology,” said Harvey.
This grant opportunity includes participation with neighboring fire departments including Center Point, Trussville, and Fultondale.
Harvey said the grant is a $363,000 project, which $46,000 would be allocated to the City of Springville. “There is a 10 percent match if it’s awarded, giving the city $4,300,” said Harvey. “It is really like a video conferencing system that allows us to participate with various locations to hold training classes using a real-time instructor instead of utilizing a video tape.”
Harvey explained to the Council the city’s certain Emergency Medical System’s (EMS) education requirements. “There are certain requirements that you can only use a certain amount of, what they call distributed education, which is a video tape,” explained Harvey. “As long as you have a real instructor that you can interact with it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the building that you are in.”
The Center Point Fire Department, who is also applying for the grant, is researching the same system that is being used by the fire college. “This grant allows us to send some of our guys to classes without having to worry about paying for travel, room and board,” said Harvey.
Harvey said that the grant closing period is scheduled the day before the next Springville Council meeting in Feb. “Center Point needs to know from us if we would like to participate,” said Harvey. “The only thing that is due is a $125 fee payable to the grant writer, a portion of the total $500 that the other mention cities would contribute as well.”
Harvey explains that the fee will be reimbursed to the city if awarded but is unclear whether the grant will be awarded this budget year or next year. “It is all dependent on when the grant cycle is,” said Harvey. “If and when the grant is awarded, our portion would be $4,300.”
“I am asking the Council if we can participate, so that the Center Point Fire Department can finish applying for the grant before the deadline,” said Harvey.
The Council approved a motion to add consideration of Harvey’s request to the agenda and approved Springville’s participation in the AFG with the surrounding cities.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Association’s website, the primary of the AFG is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments.
Since 2001, AFG has assisted firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.