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Grant helps with much-needed fire department equipment

It was delivery day on Monday for the Hampton Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department.
This delivery brought some much-needed equipment, including air packs, to the station.
All this was made possible by a $140,000 grant the fire station received back in August of this year.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant is an annual award available to first responders throughout the country and comes through FEMA.
Chris Issacs, fire chief, said the grant comes with competition.
“The competition is pretty fierce for the amount of money that’s out there,” he said.
Issacs explained that applying for the grant is a lengthy process, including months of paperwork submissions.
The fire station received this award just in the nick of time.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Issacs. “Our air packs that we have, the air bottles on them are carbon fibered. This means they have a 15-year lifespan on them. After 15 years they can no longer be used. Our air packs just ran out.”
Issacs explained that the station would have had to find a way to borrow money to replace these air packs had it not been for the grant.
The importance of this grant goes beyond just helping this station, but those surrounding it as well. Issacs explained that the station matches what surrounding fire stations use to keep them uniform when multiple stations aid large events. This allows the use of equipment more efficiently, therefore the age, model, etc. equipment is intended to match.
This is the second time the fire station has received the Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Issacs explained that the first time they received this grant they purchased the now outdated air packs and air bottles for the station.
While grants like this are a blessing for fire stations, Issacs urges the community to continue to help support their local fire stations.
He explained that while the county commission is amazing at helping the station, it still takes a large sum of money to operate, especially as technology advances and standards change. Grants are also limited.
For the latest updates to the station, and to see how to donate, check out their Facebook page, or call 423-725-3500.
“Help us help you,” said Issacs. “You may not need the volunteer fire department for years, but your neighbor might, your mom and dad might, your kids might. Even though it’s a small donation, it goes a long way to helping many people.”