Taylor FD receives $318,182 grant for vehicles

Photo courtesy of the city of Taylor Beaumont Taylor President Lee Ann Odom (left) and Chief Nursing Officer Kristine Donahue (right) present a check for $24,000 Fire Chief Stephen Portis July 18. The money is earmarked for three new heart monitors, which will be placed in ambulances.

Photo courtesy of the city of Taylor
Beaumont Taylor President Lee Ann Odom (left) and Chief Nursing Officer Kristine Donahue (right) present a check for $24,000 Fire Chief Stephen Portis July 18. The money is earmarked for three new heart monitors, which will be placed in ambulances.

Beaumont also donates $24,000 for new heart monitors

By THE CITY OF TAYLOR
For the Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — The Fire Department will receive a $318,182 vehicle acquisition grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) announced July 21.

The grant will allow Taylor to continue to update and improve its fire department fleet.

The AFG program awards grants directly to fire departments and EMS organizations that are unaffiliated with a hospital to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.

“We are very happy to receive this AFG grant and thankful for Representative Dingell’s efforts in this area,” Mayor Rick Sollars said. “We are constantly looking at options to make our fire department fleet better.”

Fire Chief Stephen Portis and Deputy Chief Stan Pochron worked on the AFG grant application with the city’s administration. The grant comes with a 10-percent city match, all of which requires City Council approval.

Because of an improving financial condition, the city has been able to replace its entire Fire Department fleet over a four-year period, something that the mayor said he wouldn’t have thought possible when he took office in 2013.

While budget cuts gained headlines and cut fire staffing from 2011 to 2013, lost in much of that controversy was the ongoing problems with the department’s equipment. Over the past four years, administration, staffing and equipment have become stabilized in the department.

“Back then, I would have never thought that it was possible to get to the position we are now in,” Sollars said. “We’ve essentially replaced the entire fire fleet in less than four years. We have new engines, new ambulances and two Chevy Tahoes.”

As the city focused on this AFG grant, Sollars said that part of the plan moving forward will be to donate one of the department’s old trucks to the Michigan Institute for Public Safety and Education program at Wayne County Community College’s Downriver District. WCCCD is one of the city’s strongest partners in the community.

“This will work out very well for all involved,” Sollars said.

Dingell, who recently was in Taylor for a community walk and question-and-answer forum at the farmer’s market, was very happy to announce the grant.

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep Michigan residents safe,” Dingell said. “This grant will ensure Taylor firefighters have up-to-date equipment that will allow them to safely do their jobs protecting our communities.”

Likewise, Portis was glad to see the application accepted.

“I am very excited, first and foremost, for the AFG grant,” Portis said. “We have applied for several in the past, but this was the first for vehicle acquisition, which we greatly need. This grant will help out immensely for our city operations for firefighting.”

The AFG grant was the second piece of good news for the Fire Department over the past week. On July 18, Beaumont Health donated $24,000 for three high-tech heart monitors, which will be used in as part of the department’s new city-run emergency transport services, which will start in mid-August or September.

The city is waiting on two new ambulances to arrive, and a third is being rehabilitated. One ambulance will be stationed at each of the three Taylor Fire stations in the community.

While the Fire Department has been Advanced Life Support-certified for the past four years and responds to medical emergencies, HealthLink (which has turned into Beaumont) had been its emergency transportation carrier. Earlier this year, Sollars and the Fire Department put together a plan to re-establish the services, which was unanimously approved by City Council.

“We’re very lucky to have a hospital in our city that really cares about resident and emergency responders,” Portis said.

The AFG program awards grants directly to fire departments and EMS organizations that are unaffiliated with a hospital to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.