Grant awarded to West Carter Fire Department

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department received notification Wednesday afternoon from Congressman Bill Jenkins' office that the department has been awarded a grant for $108,312 to improve firefighter safety and purchase training equipment.
   The funds come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
   Lieutenant Kevin Eller said, "We are going to upgrade the communication system, purchase 22 new sets of turnout gear for all the firemen, eight complete new air packs with spare bottles, training equipment which will include training videos on DVD, a digital camera, a projector to use during training classes, a laptop computer, 15 handheld radios and four mobile radios for the trucks."
   The department will also purchase 1,000 feet of three-inch hose and 500 feet of 2-inch hose. All of the planned purchases total $108,000.
   The federal grant portion totals $97,481 and the fire department portion is 10 percent or $10,831.
   "We are grateful we have been included in the list of recipients. We will put the money to good use for new equipment for better service to the citizens of west Carter County," said Chief Conley Jones.
   During a previous round of grants, Elizabethton Fire Department was awarded $108,001 and Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $99,990 for fire operations and firefighter safety.
   The U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, administers the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program. The program assists rural, urban, and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. A list of current award recipients announced through the 24th round is posted on the USFA web site at
   Future recipients will be listed as awards are made.