Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Cookeville Fire Receives Grant For Rescue Squad Equipment

The Cookeville Fire Department has secured a grant of some $62,000 for new turnout gear and upgraded rescue squad equipment.

Fire Chief Benton Young said several years ago, Cookeville City Council bought lightweight turnout gear for each department employee, but employees have left and been replaced by people who cannot fit that gear. He said the department also requested swiftwater equipment like wetsuits and inflatable boats.

“We have to have the equipment and the training to respond to various types of events, you know,” Young said. “Someone calls 9-1-1 and asks for, you name it, the fire department is usually going to respond to it and we have to be prepared to respond for stuff that’s totally out of the box sometimes.”

Young said the need for additional equipment is magnified with increased requests for rescue in recent years. Young said the department will not know for sure what equipment they will receive for another few weeks, but he will gladly accept any equipment upgrades they get.

“Increased call volume, of course, you’re going to wear the equipment out quicker,” Young said. “Some of the upgraded stuff we’ve asked for, hopefully we get some of that.”

He said the lightweight turnout gear is the same as firefighter turnout gear but without the thermal lining on the inside. He said the department also asked for composite cribbing, rather than the wooden cribbing currently used. He said the new material is more durable and will be dependable for the department for much longer.

“We have to have the equipment and not just the equipment, but the training,” Young said. “You can have either either and you don’t really have anything.”

Young said wreck response is nearly a daily occurrence and while water rescues and rope rescues are not common, squads must be prepared when they do happen. The grant was administered through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Tennessee State Fire Marshall’s Office through their Rescue Squad Grant Program.