Police & Fire

Greenville Fire Department receives grant for air packs

GREENVILLE — Fundraising and grant opportunities are vital to equipping fire departments across Maine and the nation, and the Greenville Fire Department is no exception as the entity protects both the town and surrounding region. Fire Chief Sawyer Murray told the select board about the latest grant developments during a Feb. 21 meeting.

“We have been pretty lucky with grants lately,”  he said. The department has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant totaling $224,700, with about $195,000 going toward new air packs. The remaining almost $30,000 funded a washer and dryer for the brand new public safety building to allow gear to be cleaned in the station.

Murray said the washer and dryer have been installed and the appliances will hopefully enable gear to last longer by being cleaned more frequently as well as getting the chemicals off after firefighters have returned.

He said the air packs should be coming the following week.

The fire department also received $50,000 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation for a battery-operated Jaws of Life. The equipment is currently on order, and firefighters have been using a hydraulic Jaws of Life with at times cumbersome cords and another older gas-powered model.

An application has been submitted seeking $53,000 to purchase a side-by-side ATV. Murray said currently the fire and police departments share such an ATV.

The fire department vehicle could have a skid unit installed. “So we’ll be able to pump water plus pull a patient out such as an injured hiker or an ATV wreck,” Murry said.

The chief has applied for a Maine Forest Service Grant to fund a pair of GPS units with satellite calling and texting capabilities. He said this has been a challenge in the Kokadjo region in the past. The grant would also fund 26 forest fighting hard hats, which are less bulky than structure fire helmets, and 10 shirts and pants designed for forest fire response.

The grant of just over $4,000 has a matching requirement, which is not part of the current fire department budget.

 “I feel in the overall budget we would be fine in the end of the fiscal year if we vote to spend that,” Town Manager Mike Roy said. The select board agreed by consensus to allow the grant application to move forward.

Murray said oddly enough 2023 had the same exact number of calls as the year prior with 209. “That’s our busiest year on record which ties last year,” he said, noting that for six months of the year Greenville covered Shirley.

“We’re looking to finish moving in the coming weeks, some of the equipment’s over there, some of it’s not, some of it’s in storage still,” he said about the public safety building. Murray said gear racks were set to arrive the following day and these will enable firefighters to have their individual equipment in the station ready to go.

The 1996 model tanker truck is set to be replaced as part of the 2025-26 fiscal year budget, and Muray said a truck committee has been meeting to look at pricing. He said if a tanker truck had been ordered last month then it would be assembled and completed by late 2026.

“So that’s why we’re trying to get that (trunk process) rolling now so next year it’s available, it’s still a 2-year wait,” Murray said. “What’s in the capital budget is maybe half of what we need, just under half.”

Current quotes are for $632,000 from one company and $673,000 with both likely to rise in the near future.

“I will say used options, usually there’s a reason they’re used,” Murray said. “There’s a reason they’re getting rid of them.”

The chief said $200,000 had been included in capital for the air packs so perhaps this money could go toward the tanker truck.

A fireboat has been considered but Murray said there are not too many grant opportunities for this purpose. He said a watercraft would be used not just on Moosehead Lake but other smaller bodies of water.

“In the summertime if something happened in Northeast Carry, it would be quicker to get on the boat than driving,” Roy said.

Murray said several years ago a cost recovery policy was approved at town meeting, enabling the fire and police departments to bill for certain purposes when responding to incidents involving non-residents. A third party agency will bill the insurance company. 

“Just about a month ago I had our first hit on recovery, and I got a $10,000 check so it does work,” he said, with the money going into the department equipment fund.

In his report, Roy said the public safety building generator was set to be hooked up the following day. “The process of moving into the building is moving forward, Sheridan has pretty much handed us the keys,” he said.

The Greenville Community building has a floor plan, available at https://greenvilleme.com/y-e-s-building-information/. “The next step is to create an RFP and send it out to contractors for bid,” Roy said.

“We’re stressing it’s a conceptual floor plan, it might change,” he added.

Town Clerk Tammy Firman said nomination papers will be available as of Friday, March 1. With residents able to run for two 3-year terms on the select board, three 3-year positions on the school board, and three 3-year stints on the Moosehead Sanitary District board.

“They’re due back to the Greenville Town Office no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, April 12,” Firman said. She said the annual town meeting will be Monday, June 3 and municipal and state elections will be held Tuesday, June 11.

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