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Tue, April 23

Rural fire departments get safety grants

Jo. L. Keener/The Daily Courier<br>
Groom Creek firefighter Luke Wakefield gets equipment from a truck while wearing a new self-contained breathing apparatus the department purchased with grant money.

Jo. L. Keener/The Daily Courier<br> Groom Creek firefighter Luke Wakefield gets equipment from a truck while wearing a new self-contained breathing apparatus the department purchased with grant money.

PRESCOTT - The 100 Club of Arizona gave two small Yavapai County fire departments separate grants totaling nearly $8,000 and their fire chiefs could not be happier.

Groom Creek Fire Department, about 6.5 miles south of Prescott, received $6,700. The Peeples Valley Fire Department, about 27 miles south of Prescott, received $1,150.

"We had fairly rudimentary SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus) and with this grant we have been able to outfit everyone and have our Rapid Intervention Crew be compliant with OSHA," Groom Creek Fire Chief Todd Bentley said.

The Peeples Valley Fire Department bought light batons, reflecting safety vests and "Traffic Emergency Ahead" signs.

"One of our duties is to respond to vehicle accidents, and the highway (Highway 89) has a lot of turns and hills with little visibility," Peeples Valley Fire Chief Pat McCray said. "Cars will come onto a vehicle accident with little warning. Now we can place warning signs about a mile out to slow traffic down."

The 100 Club of Arizona is a non-profit corporation that since 2004 has awarded quarterly grants to public safety organizations under its Safety Enhancement Stipend program.

"The mission of the safety enhancement program is to provide funding for public safety agencies to purchase equipment, training and for programs that directly enhance the safety and welfare of public safety officers and firefighters," Public Relations Manager Rachel St. Moritz said.

"With budgets getting tighter and tighter the smaller agencies can really benefit from our program."

Self-contained breathing apparatus are oxygen tanks firefighters wear while working inside burning structures.

"The new SCBAs give our folks working the interiors of buildings the ability to re-fill their tanks at the scene and they have adaptors so that one firefighter can connect his hose to a buddy's if they need to," Bentley said.

Bentley commands 20 active and reserve Groom Creek firefighters and auxiliary staff. This is the department's second grant from the 100 Club of Arizona.

The Peeples Valley Fire Department is a volunteer fire department and has about 17 members.

"As small as we are and with our very limited budget, this equipment was way down our list on what we could afford," McCray said. "Getting this equipment dramatically increased our safety margin for our personnel."

Other agencies that received grants from the 100 Club include the Prescott Valley and Chino police departments and the Black Canyon Fire Department.

For information about the 100 Club of Arizona grants, call St. Moritz at 602-485-0100, or visit www.100club.org.

Contact the reporter at bcolbert@prescottaz.com

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