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The City of St. Augustine remains committed to providing accessibility to all and provides for handicapped accessible parking in the city. For a map of accessible parking locations, Click Here To notify the city regarding accessibility concerns contact Todd Grant, Public Works Deputy Director, Phn: 904.825.1040, Fax: 904.209.4286, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also write City of St. Augustine, P.O. Box 210, St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210.
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Firefighter dressed in new bunker gear, wearing
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and holding a new thermal imaging camera.
One of the lessons learned from 9/11 was that the first line of defense for any community is its first responders, and for them to do the best job, they need the best tools and the best training. So, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers grants to assist fire departments in meeting those needs. Few fire departments have been more successful in securing funds through these grants than the St. Augustine Fire Department.
Between 2002 and 2004, the department successfully applied for and received over a quarter of a million dollars in federal support for new and upgraded equipment. Just recently, St. Augustine Fire Chief Mike Arnold was notified that the department had been approved for a 2006 grant totaling more that $90,000. The DHS requires the applicant contribute 5% and the DHS the other 95%. Not a bad deal.
In 2002, a grant of over $138,000 paid for new SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) units, bunker gear and thermal imaging cameras. The following year, a $76,000 grant allowed the department to purchase a second Jaws of Life so each fire station would have a unit, new portable and truck mounted radios, and emergency lifting bags. In 2004, SCBA testing equipment and new SCBA equipment for the department’s rapid intervention team were acquired with a $58,000 grant.
Thermal imaging camera purchased with grant funds.
The most recent grant will be used to replace two aging pieces of equipment, a 28-year old air system and a 17-year old Jaws of Life and purchase general training equipment. The grant will also cover the cost of a portable fire pump for use in places with limited access to water like in a woodlands fire where water can be pumped from a lake. Also, the pump can be loaded into a boat to fight water-vessel fires.
Some of the additional equipment is necessary to outfit the six new firefighters added to the departments ranks because of a SAFER Grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) through FEMA. That grant values was over $620,000.
Chief Arnold points out that all of the equipment is necessary to provide the highest level of service to the community in the event of any number of possible emergencies, whether it’s fires on land or water, automobile accidents, or hazardous material incidents. Since the funds are from federal grants, it is a tangible return home of tax dollars sent to Washington by St. Augustine residents.
Next year’s grant application has already been filed with a request for funds to cover the costs of six new air packs so every member of the department has one, additional medical equipment, and a weather station for the main fire department which serves as the city’s Emergency Operations Center. The grant application also includes funds for a small boat which will be used for fighting boat fires utilizing the portable fire pump, for towing burning vessels away from other boats, and since it has a very shallow draft, for use along city streets in the event of a natural disaster.
City departments are constantly researching avenues of additional funding sources with a simple goal: to provide the highest level of service while maintaining the highest level of fiscal responsibility to the public. Certainly the St. Augustine Fire Department is making that research pay off.