Bluebonnet, LCRA award $16,476 grant to Dale VFD for rescue tools
Bluebonnet, LCRA award $16,476 grant to Dale VFD for rescue tools

LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $16,476 grant to the Dale Volunteer Fire Department for new rescue tools From left, Jo Anna Gilland, Bluebonnet community representative, Lockhart area; James Lewey, VFD vice president and firefighter; Milton Shaw, Bluebonnet director; Ronnie Calaway, VFD board member and firefighter; Brian Barrington, fire chief; Shelly Palmer, VFD treasurer; Margaret D. "Meg" Voelter, LCRA Board member; Elizabeth Lewey, firefighter; and Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.

The Dale Volunteer Fire Department will purchase new battery-operated rescue tools, thanks to a $16,476 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,899 in matching funds from the department, will allow Dale VFD to purchase two sets of cordless, waterproof rescue tools that include a spreader to pry apart a wrecked vehicle, a ram to free a trapped victim and a cutting tool.

“We start the life-saving process,” said James Lewey, Dale VFD vice president. “As a combination fire and emergency medical services assist team, we often arrive at locations before the ambulance.”

The rescue tools will replace the department’s current tools that are heavy and often malfunction. Having battery-operated tools will allow first responders to move freely and quickly, without being hampered by tangled cords or hoses.

“We really need tools that allow us to be further away from the rescue truck,” Lewey said. “There have been times we’ve had to use our hand tools to cut through debris or wait for mutual aid to respond, which can take up to an hour. Having the right tools can make all the difference between life and death.”

Lewey also looks forward to the waterproof features of the new equipment.

“Our area has several low water crossings that are marked but not always visible during bad weather,” he said. “Having tools that are waterproof ensures they won’t short out when we’re in or near water.”

The community grant is one of six grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and the LCRA through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available here.