Hampton FD receives grant

By Megan R. Harrell

The Hampton Valley Forge Fire Department will receive nearly $16,800 as part of the United States Fire Administration's (USFA) FIRE Act grants. The local fire department is one of 655 fire departments nationwide slated to receive funding from the administration.
   Hampton Fire Chief, Kelly Taylor, was notified last week that his department would receive the funds. FEMA requires departments to outline how they will utilize the funds during the application process.
   Taylor had requested $48,000 for personal protective equipment used by fighters in structural fires. He intends to outfit at least 30 men with the funds.
   Although Taylor did not receive all of the funding he requested, he was happy to receive the $16,800. "Instead of being able to outfit 30 men we will be able to buy 22 sets of just jackets and pants, and will mix and match so that every active firefighter will have a full set of gear," Taylor said.
   The technology and material that goes into making fire gear makes it expensive for rural departments. Each turn out gear jacket consists of three layers. The first layer protects against heat, while the second layer traps moisture such as steam and sweat. The inside layer of the jackets is quilted for comfort.
   The total cost of a complete turn out gear suit is estimated at $1,400. A helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and a Nomex hood make up the complete suit.
   The Hampton Fire Department is the only one in Carter County to be notified it will be receiving the USFA grant. All of the departments have submitted similar applications for funding. Taylor stated the county would provide a 10 percent match of the USFA funds. The county's contribution will pay for two and a half sets of gear.
   Chief Taylor believes the grant will help to improve his fire department overall. "It will help with morale to have a good set of gear the men can trust," Taylor said. "They went above and beyond before, but now they can do it more safely."