ROANOKE, Va. – Local fire departments will get some much-needed equipment thanks to a state grant.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management awarded Roanoke Fire-EMS more than $161,000 for the VDEM Regional 6 Special Operations teams.
One grant is for the Swift Water and Heavy Technical Rescue Programs, and the second is for the Hazardous Materials Team. Both grants will help first responders better respond to swift water rescue and hazardous waste calls.
Since the department is part of regional swift water rescue and hazardous materials teams with other localities, the city will disperse the funds to other local departments, like Salem, Roanoke County and Franklin County.
The VDEM Division 6 Swift Water Team is made up of personnel from Roanoke Fire-EMS, Salem Fire & EMS and Franklin County Department of Public Safety.
The VDEM Region 6 Heavy Technical Rescue Team is made up of personnel from Roanoke Fire-EMS, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, Salem Fire & EMS and Franklin County Department of Public Safety.
The VDEM Region 6 Hazardous Materials Team is made up of personnel from Roanoke Fire-EMS and Salem Fire & EMS.
The money will be used to buy things like life jackets, motors, chemical leak control kits and more.
Through the SHSP Special Operations Technical Rescue Team grant, for the Division 6 Swift Water and Heavy Technical Rescue teams, localities will be purchasing shoring equipment, personal protective equipment, harnesses and rappelling tools, portable illumination lighting, other life-saving tools and financial support for team training.
Through the SHSP Special Operations Hazardous Materials Team grant, for the Division 6 Hazmat Team, localities will be purchasing chemical leak control kits, communication and computing devices, decontamination equipment and other equipment set aside to support VDEM efforts for a local MEGA team.
“All that stuff is really critical and when we use that stuff for rescue, there’s wear and tear. We need to have the ability to replace it,” said Roanoke Fire-EMS Deputy Chief David Guynn.
The department’s already applying for next year’s round of grant funding.