The Norman Transcript


December 12, 2013

Grants help rural fire departments



“It helps us out just because it’s money coming in,” Snyder said. “We operate off a very tight budget year to year, and it’s hard to replace items.”

All firefighters for the Little Axe Fire Department are volunteers, which is common for rural fire departments. Snyder said they have 18 firefighters who carry approximately $7,000 worth of gear.

Little Axe has seven fire apparatuses, and with fuel costs high and replacement parts expensive, Snyder said every little bit of money counts.

Cedar Country administrative officer Roger Wickey said the grant helps them with equipment they work with, keeping up with maintenance on older vehicles or purchasing newer vehicles.

Cedar Country Fire Department also is 100 percent volunteer-based with seven active trucks, one that is being built, and 25 firefighters, Wickey said.

Marsha Blair, county administrator who also works with the Slaughterville Fire Department, said the grants are helpful because they can be used toward any type of cost they have in the department.

“It helps keep the department operating,” Blair said.

Blair said they also use funding sources through their city sales tax, but the grants are helpful and beneficial. By having money available to build more fire stations, it also keeps insurance rates lower, she said.

Slaughterville has 13 fire apparatus and 21 volunteer firefighters.

Noble Interim Fire Chief Bob Hall said their recent grant money was used for equipment repair.

“We’ve been having trouble with one of our tankers. The engine went out, brakes, transmission — anyway, it allowed us to fix up one of our trucks,” Hall said. “We still have one down, but that was just one of the things you can use it for.”

Hall said they tried to purchase a new one, but they didn’t have enough money. The fire department also used the grant money to construct a new kitchen area, he said.

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