The Oxford Fire Department received notification from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) on July 19, 2017 of a FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) award in the amount of $267,728 dollars for operations and safety funding to purchase replacement Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
This equipment provides respiratory protection for personnel during firefighting and hazardous materials emergencies and will replace equipment that will no longer be OSHA or National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) compliant as of 2018. AFG officials approved $294,500 for the project, however, the overall costs to replace the equipment is projected to be higher at $311,034. In conjunction with a required local government match, the total net cost to the City should be $43,306.80.
The City of Oxford applied for the grant in November of 2016 along with thousands of fire department and EMS agencies from across the United States for a total of $310,500,000 in federal appropriations.
According to Chief Mark Heath, 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.
Heath stated: “The support of the FEMA Review teams, Senator Thad Cochran, Mayor Tannehill and the Board of Alderman is deeply appreciated. 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.”
He added: “We always want to ensure our firefighters are afforded the best protection possible as they put their lives on the line every time they respond to an emergency call. 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.”
The Fire Department 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 City of Oxford and State purchasing policies and procedures.
Courtesy of Cindy Semmes, Executive Assistant to the Mayor