A $19,429 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will help the Heart of the Pines Volunteer Fire Department improve its response time and rescue operations.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $4,734 in matching funds from the department, will allow the VFD to purchase 12 sets of new personal protective equipment and a fire-rescue saw.
Heart of the Pines VFD currently uses gear that’s nearing its expiration date and was originally fit for volunteers who have since left the department. Since the gear doesn’t properly fit current firefighters, it takes longer to put the equipment on, extending the department’s response time.
Assistant Fire Chief Joshua Lucas said having equipment that fits properly allows first responders to arrive at emergencies and assess the situation more quickly.
“When seconds count, every moment matters,” Lucas said. “Gear fitted properly is a huge asset to the citizens of the areas we serve.”
The addition of a new fire-rescue saw will significantly cut the time for rescue operations Lucas said. A fire-rescue saw is used to cut concrete, rebar, tin roofs, metal buildings, garage doors and more.
The Heart of the Pines VFD is one of the only remaining all-volunteer fire departments serving Bastrop County. Fundraising, donations, grants and dues help fund the department.
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.