WHEELWRIGHT – Members of the local government and first responders in Wheelwright are constantly seeking opportunities to make their community better. Recently, City Commissioner Sam Little and Wheelwright Fire Chief Daniel Gullett applied for and received a grant of $3,303 from the Division of Forestry.
The grant was a 50 percent matching grant meaning the fire department had to raise half of the money needed to purchase the safety equipment they sought to buy. The grand total for the items to be purchased was $6,606. The fire department conducted fundraisers to raise its portion of the money.
“The fire department has taken a much more proactive approach to the station,” said Little. “The main goal of the fire department is to seek out training and grants to improve performance and raise the station’s ISO score, which will create a better relationship with the community.”
ISO stands for Insurance Service Office. An ISO rating provides the statistical information on risk. The range of a fire department ISO rating is 1-10, with a rating of 1 being best. The better the score the lower home owner’s insurance is for the citizens serviced by that area fire station.
The purpose of the grant was to seek money to purchase the equipment needed to develop and put in place a rapid response wildfire crew that could handle forest fires faster and safer than what the community currently had available. A rapid wildfire response crew could reduce property loss and environmental issues related to wildfires. Included in the grant was a skid unit for the ATV currently in service at the fire department. This will allow firefighters the ability to have a pumper putting massive amounts of water on wildfires before they have the opportunity to spread to residential areas. This will also allow a means to evacuate an individual from remote locations should that need arise. A new chainsaw, leaf blower, four fire rakes, two Pulaski axes, six sets of wildland turnout gear and one back-water pump was also purchased with the grant money.
“These items will greatly improve our response to forest fires and give us an added edge on safety, which is a concern of any good department,” Little added.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.