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Independent Voice

FEMA Funds Help Replace Fire Hose

Feb 28, 2024 10:35AM ● By Angela Underwood

Dixon Fire Department hoses as seen here are being replaced with a $108,000 FEMA grant. Photo courtesy of the Dixon Fire Department

DIXON, CA (MPG) - A controlled and steady stream of water is critical in extinguishing flames as quickly as possible, making hose suppression systems vital.

That is why Dixon City Council members passed a resolution at its Feb. 20 meeting to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program funds to replace old suppression and supply hoses for all the fleet’s fire engines.

The tab is approximately $120,000, with FEMA funding 90 percent of the bill at $108,000. 

Mayor Steve Bird said Dixon Fire Department Chief Todd McNeal works with the City Council to bring forward programs that will improve public safety for the city. 

"One of the 2023-2024 goals of this council is to ensure that city services keep pace with community growth; one way of doing this is to develop strategies to help with public safety recruitment and retention," Bird said.

The Dixon Fire Department's suppression and supply hoses have different ages, according to McNeal.

"A majority of them are nearing the end of their lifespan or are no longer passing annual testing," McNeal said. 

According to the fire chief, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that the agency having jurisdiction create a replacement schedule that keeps the inventory capable of annually passing the association’s standards.

"This purchase will significantly improve the effectiveness of our firefighting capabilities and allow the aerial apparatus to flow at the NFPA-recommended gallons per minute with larger diameter supply hose," McNeal said. "These hoses are important in fire suppression as they deliver water from the truck or hydrant to the fire."

McNeal said that the city has received several grants from federal and state agencies and private charitable organizations over the last five years. 

FEMA reports that the Assistance to Firefighters Grant since 2001 has assisted firefighters and first responders in "obtaining critically-needed resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards." 

Some of the larger completed critical projects that have been grant-funded include an exhaust capturing system replaced at the fire station to reduce carcinogen exposure to the firefighters, according to McNeal.

"There was also a replacement of the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) used by firefighters when entering a toxic and hazardous environment, and upgraded radio communication equipment across the entire fleet," McNeal said.

Bird said it is vital that Dixon's public safety services have the resources necessary to respond to emergencies safely and efficiently, ensuring the safety of residents. 

"It is important to work closely with state and federal agencies to ensure that we are meeting all required standards and adhering to the industry standards and requirements," McNeal said.

Working with local, state, and federal level partners allows for a more cohesive approach to emergency management, more efficient response, and increased safety for responders and the public, according to the fire chief.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and strongly support continued funding of this vital program in the future," McNeal said.