Supporting firefighters

Ghent Fire receives $147,815; other departments also receive grant money

Photo by Jody Isaackson Marshall Fire Department Lieutenant Preston Stensrud stands by the two new turnout gear extractors the department purchased with grant monies received this past year. Stensrud said area firefighters are welcome to use them as well.

GHENT — The Ghent Fire Department received a $147,815 boost from a program that is administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In June, the Ghent Fire Department applied for $155,205 from the Assistance to Firefighters Federal Grant Program, City Administrator Dawn Vlaminck said. The primary goal of the program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing financial assistance, according to FEMA.

The Ghent Fire Department is expected to receive $147,815 this month and will spend it all on equipment such as turnout out gear and new self-contained breathing apparatus for 23 firefighters. The $7,390 difference is the department’s matching portion.

All the previous gear was well past its life span, so they had to be replaced.

Several other Lyon County city fire departments also received grants and/or donations over the past year that helped them purchase equipment and gear to enhance their service to their communities.

The Marshall Fire Department used its grant monies to purchase two turnout gear extractors (kind of like washing machines) that they allow area fire departments to use as well.

“The cost of the extractors was $14,250 for both,” MFD Lt. Preston Stensrud said. “We also purchased two skid units for grass and field fires for around $11,000.”

The grants came from the following sources: $4,000 from ADM, $7,500 from Avera, $3,500 from Pioneer Seeds and $2,400 from the Department of Natural Resources, Stensrud said.

It also received an additional $6,500 from the city of Marshall for a turnout gear dryer to complete the set. To make up the difference, the MFD used funds the members raised throughout the year.

Now firefighters can clean six sets at a time instead of just one, Stensrud said.

Just Tuesday, the Balaton Fire Department received a $500 donation from Minnesota Energy Resources, Fire Chief Troy Wendland said. The department will use the funds to purchase a natural gas leak tester.

The Cottonwood Fire Department received two grants during 2017. In April the first was from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division in the amount of $2,000. In May, it received $2,500 from Monsanto.

“These grants were used for capital outlay purchases including hot shield masks, City Administrator Charlie Seipel said. “We also received a total of $5,943.31 from the state of Minnesota throughout the year for training expense reimbursement.”

Lynd Fire Chief Justin Korman works for RDO Equipment in Marshall which gives donations to their employees’ fire departments upon approved application. Former fire chief Carl Klatt said that in December the Lynd Fire Department received $12,000 to purchase a used ambulance from Mountain Lake as well as some new pagers. The grant was awarded through the company’s Community Builder program which supports charities their team members are highly engaged in.

Tracy’s Fire Department received a DNR matching grant for $10,000. Interim City Administrator Shane Daniels said that it was an even split, that the DNR gave the fire department $5,000 to match the $5,000 the fire department raised. These funds went toward the purchase of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, he said.

The Garvin fire chief and the Minneota city administrator reported not receiving any grants for 2017.