Good news on 2 fronts in Wing

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 12, 2010

Wing residents received great news on two fronts this week – one, their fire department has received a more than $50,000 equipment grant; and two, updates at the fire department have resulted in a 3-point drop in the town’s ISO rating.

John Knox, president of the Wing Volunteer Fire Department, said the $56,877 Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant will be used to purchase important state-of-the art equipment.

“One thing we’re very excited about is the thermal imaging system, which we can use to locate people within the fire,” Knox said. “It will tell us where they are in the structure from the outside. We’re also going to get new air packs and turnout gear for our firefighters.”

Additionally, the money will be used to purchase everyday use items such as flashlights, uniforms, helmets and other equipment items.

“This money is a great achievement for our department,” he said. “It enables us to pass our old things to a department who doesn’t have any.”

Wing was the only fire department in the county to receive grant funds; however it was one of 33 departments sharing in more than $2.8 million statewide.

The AFG grant program enables local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations to purchase or receive training, conduct first responder health and safety programs, and buy equipment and response vehicles.

In Wing, that money will be used to outfit the department’s 16 active volunteer firefighters who protect an estimated 500 homes, Knox said.

He said the department has spent the last several months receiving training and updating equipment, all for the purpose lowering homeowners’ insurance premiums.

“And it paid off,” he said. “We had a meeting earlier this week, and they told us we had lowered our score from a 9 to a 6, which means substantial saving for homeowners living within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.”

ISO scores are used to gauge the capacity and capability of the local fire department to respond a fire, and the lower the grade, the better.

“It was hard work, but worth it for our residents,” Knox said.