The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 12, 2012

Grant would replace fire prevention trailer

— The Athens City Council accepted a request from Athens Fire and Rescue to apply for a federal fire prevention and safety grant to purchase a new fire prevention trailer.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency grant would provide $112,619 with a 10 percent match of $11,270 from the city to replace the existing fire prevention safety house and buy a carport cover. The mobile house is currently located behind Station No. 3 on Lindsay Lane.

“About 2 1/2 years ago — unknown to us — the skylights cracked and let water into the trailer,” Fire Chief Tony Kirk said. “After the floor rotted out, (then) Chief (Danny) Southard looked into replacing it, and it’s almost the same (cost) to replace it as to repair it.

“The trailer we’re looking at now is not only for fire safety. It also has hazardous weather training built into it, and it has a set of woofer speakers that makes the trailer shake to simulate storm noise. And it has a sprinkler demonstration room.”

The new mobile unit will be equipped with state-of-the-art features for community education, including a flat-screen television, interactive touch screens, remote control stations and a kitchen set up to mimic a fire.

“It would be an excellent training tool,” Prevention Chief James Hand said. “It’s more interactive for kids, and we could use it for hazardous weather training for seniors.”

The grant will be open for applicants from Dec. 17 to Jan. 18, 2013, and it could be six to 10 months before the city’s application is approved.

Councilman Jimmy Gill asked Kirk to find out the total cost of refurbishing the current safety house, in case the grant application isn’t approved.

Gill also asked the fire chief if it would be feasible to use Station No. 1 to house the trailer instead of buying a carport cover. Kirk said it would interfere with operations at the station if the trailer was stored in one of the bays.

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