Oskaloosa Fire To Use Grant Money For SCBA Gear

Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff (left) and US Congressman Dave Loebsack (right) discuss the needs of local fire department during a tour of the Oskaloosa Fire Station on Friday.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – It was announced last week that the Oskaloosa Fire Department was going to be receiving a $125,000.00 grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Oskaloosa News sat down with Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff to discuss what the department would be utilizing those dollars on.

The grant that was awarded this past week started in Neff’s office October of last year when a 30-day window to submit was opened.

The grant application requires extensive numbers from the department, such as the number of calls they responded to, financial information, which included over six pages of narrative.

In the grant application, Neff and his staff, who also worked on the grant application, identified that the self-contained breathing apparatus is a need for their department.

Neff made sure to highlight the work that the staff at the Oskaloosa Fire Department put into this grant. “This wasn’t a one-man show. I don’t want anybody thinking that. This was a team effort. It wasn’t just me getting this grant.”

Those self-contained breathing apparatus or SCBA were purchased back in 2002, and have given 17 years of service to the department.

Neff and the department had applied for the grant the past few years and were unsuccessful in winning the award for the SCBA gear.

If the Oskaloosa Fire Department hadn’t received the grant, the city of Oskaloosa would have had to find $131,000 of local taxpayer money to replace those life-saving devices.

The city of Oskaloosa will now be responsible for just 5% of the total cost of $131,814.00 for the SCBA replacement in the amount of $6,574.91.

“We’re just ecstatic that we got this [grant] because again, every dollar of that comes out of the general fund, and there are only so many dollars in that [general fund] that we have to work with,” added Neff.

The fire department will now be calling in vendors of SCBA gear for demonstrations, as Neff and his staff evaluate the equipment before purchasing the 23 new units. They will also order enough face pieces for each staff member to have their own, which is critical for OSHA standards.

The department already has enough face pieces for each firefighter, which was made possible by the last grant award from 2010.

The department continues to replace it’s other safety equipment as they reach the end of their service life. Turnout gear, fire helmets, are on a planned replacement schedule to lessen the impact on the city budget.

Neff thanked the Oskaloosa City Council and City Manager for their support of the fire department and their needs. “This council, in the time I’ve been fire chief has always tried to get us what we need.”

“There’s a lot of departments that don’t have that,” Neff added.

Posted by on Sep 14 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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