Banner Elk Volunteer Fire Rescue received a very generous grant of $31,000 from High Country Charitable Foundation today for the purchase of some much-needed equipment to keep our firefighters safe and effective in protecting property and lives. The grant will fund the acquisition of two 3M Scott SCBA Air-Paks and three Kenwood digital radios.
Firefighters are often required to wear a SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) to supply air in toxic environments such as fires, chemical spills and other accidents. The department’s current air-packs date back to 2002, and it is recommended through OSHA and FEMA that SCBAs are replaced every 8 years for health and safety. A SCBA has three main components: a high-pressure tank, a pressure regulator, and an inhalation mouthpiece or face mask – all connected together and mounted to a carrying frame. SCBAs designed for firefighting tend to be expensive, approximately $10,000 each, because of the lightweight and flame resistance materials. In addition, it incorporates a PASS device (personal alert safety system) to help locate firefighters in distress.
With our deep valleys and remote areas, clear radio communication is especially crucial between each firefighter, command and dispatch. The grant enables them to purchase three Kenwood Viking VP8000 P25 digital radios, costing $3,500 each. These multiband mission-critical radios designed for firefighting supports the VHF, UHF, and 700/800 MHz frequencies and have features such as loud audio, excellent sound quality, multi-line display and a gloved grip design. Viking radios are used throughout the world by police, fire, paramedics, military and homeland security personnel.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the opportunity to outfit our firefighters with these much-needed resources,” says Banner Elk Assistant Fire Chief Will Treen. “These radios allow for us to communicate, and the SCBA’s allow for us to breathe -two items that are certainly required for us to perform our jobs. On behalf of Banner Elk Fire-Rescue, I am incredibly grateful for the HCCF’s generous donation. This grant award helps us keep our beautiful town and home safe, and it helps us respond in a quick and professional manner.”
High Country Charitable Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a vision to help the Avery County community by providing for neighbors and animals in need. They are located in the Elk River area. At their Grant Distribution Ceremony on September 26, they awarded almost $600,000 to non-profits in Avery County. Their goal is not to compete with the large national foundations, but to fill the needs f the local charities who might fall through the cracks. Read more about them.
According to HCCF Board Member Terry Ward, “Being a part of the local community, it is important to HCCF to support the many organizations who help keep Avery County safe throughout the year.”
The Banner Elk Fire District includes the Town of Banner Elk, Village of Sugar Mountain, and areas of Avery County including Elk River, Eagle’s Nest, Diamond Creek and Lees-McRae College. Founded in 1965, the station responds to an average of 650 calls a year for both fire and rescue/EMS.