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11/29/2011 5:00:00 PM
Blythe Fire Dept. gets grant
Special to the Times

BLYTHE - Like most fire departments across the country, the Blythe Fire Department operates on a limited budget, yet the cost for updating and purchasing new equipment continues to rise. Now, thanks to a grant, the department will be able to purchase 20 new sets of personal protective equipment specially-designed for fighting wildfires.

Propel Insurance is partnering with Fireman's Fund Insurance Company to donate $10,000 to the Blythe Fire Department for the purchase of the new wildland coats, pants and utility belts. The owners of the newly-renovated Desert Breeze Villas and several other apartment complexes in Blythe were instrumental in identifying Blythe's need for the funds.

This gear replaces soiled, worn equipment long past its useful life. The upgrades have the newest in technology including more thermal protection from the heat, increased flexibility to allow better range of motion and less firefighter fatigue and high-visibility reflective trim.

"Proper personal protective equipment is critical for any firefighter who is on the front lines of a wildfire," said Fire Chief Billy Kem. "Outfitting our volunteers is expensive, which is why this grant is so important to us."

Kem, Blythe firefighters, and executives from Propel Insurance, Fireman's Fund and representatives from Desert Breeze Villas will be presenting the grant at a special community event focusing on fire safety in apartment complexes: on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. at the Desert Breeze Villas, 400 North Palm Dr.

The grant is part of a nationwide philanthropic program funded by Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. The program is designed to provide needed equipment, training and educational tools to local fire departments and burn prevention organizations. Since 2004, Fireman's Fund has issued grants to nearly 1,800 different organizations totaling more than $28 million.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011
Article comment by: Pura Verdad

Truth be known, grant writers are employed by cities across the United States for their expertise in creative writing skills and their abilities to obtain grants, which translates to free money. Guidelines are usually imposed, however, agenies have a canny ability to tweak these guidelines to encompass borderline purchases. Of which, Blythe may have wildfires consisting of lot brush and grass fires on private property and so on. It's another form of pork-barreling, but at a smaller scale. Yes, most of the time it's taxpayer monies. Que vida.

Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Equipment for fight wild fires? Is it more expensive than fighting house fire? I thought that the City fire department took care of the City and the county fire department took care of the county. This is why I do not understand about the city. when it was going to lose the county fire department. The fight was what fire department did what and where. If I seem ignorant maybe I am. Why would the City fire Deartment need some thing more expensive to fight city fires. Hey a grant is a grant buy what you need but it's fuzzy why do you need wild fire fighting suit's, are you City or County. Not trying to start fight just trying to understand.

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