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Oxford Fire Department receives $276K grant

Oxford Fire Department was one of four departments to be awarded a combination of $700,000 in federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants to improve their ability to serve and protect their communities.                                                                                              

OFD received $276,728 to go toward the purchased replacement Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus that provides respiratory protection for personnel during firefighting and hazardous materials emergencies and will replace equipment that will no longer be Occupational Safety and Health Administration or National Fire Protection Agency compliant in 2018.

The grant comes with a small match attached to it. The city of Oxford will pay $43,306 to replace the equipment that’s expected to actually cost $311,034.

The city of Oxford applied for the grant in November of 2016.

OFD Chief Mark Heath said the application process is very competitive with a rigorous review by teams that assess demonstrated need, plans for administering the grant and compliance with federal reporting requirements.

“The support of the FEMA Review teams, Senator Thad Cochran, Mayor (Robyn) Tannehill and the Board of Aldermen is deeply appreciated,” he said Thursday. “Overall, the AFG award minimizes the impact to the budget process, saving the city over a quarter million in taxpayer dollars in capital expenditure and acquisition for this critically needed equipment.”

Equipment vital

Heath said firefighters deserve to have the best and safest equipment available.

“They put their lives on the line every time they respond to an emergency call,” he said. “It’s not just them — we have to think about their families and the residents of Oxford, whose lives we are protecting, to provide our personnel with the latest in equipment technology that we can afford to help them in those efforts.”

OFD has already evaluated SCBA units from manufacturers to ensure serviceability, and compatibility with the Lafayette County Fire Department as well as pricing and compliance with OSHA regulations, NFPA standards, AFG guidelines for procurement that follow the city of Oxford and state purchasing policies and procedures.

Other departments getting grants from AFG include Greenville Fire Department, Stringer Volunteer Fire Department and Troy-Woodland Volunteer fire department in Pontotoc County.

“Well trained and equipped fire departments are important to ensure public safety,” said Sen. Thad Cochran in regards to grants being awarded to Mississippi fire stations. “I’m pleased federal funding has been approved to help these departments prepare for emergency situations.”

Cochran serves on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over FEMA funding.