Fire companies throughout Susquehanna County got help paying bills this month with monies from a grant distributed by the county commissioners.
Fourteen companies received grants of as much as $50,000 to cover expenses normally paid for by annual fundraisers cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Pretty much all departments have a given event each summer and we all lost that,” said Chad Wallace of Thompson Hose Co.
“We’re greatly appreciative to the commissioners for giving the money to us with this pandemic,” Wallace said.
The Thompson Hose Co. has 20 active volunteer firefighters and two ambulances covering 110 square miles.
Wallace said the grant funds will go to pay for gas for the trucks, utilities for the firehouse as well as cover routine maintenance needs.
The grant money, part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Supplemental Funding) money, can also help offset the cost of additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and supplies purchased due to COVID-19.
County commissioners also on Thursday announced the distribution of 15 disinfecting sprayers to all EMS agencies in the county. The electrostatic handheld sprayers, donated as part of a countywide program to contain the spread of COVID-19, can be used to quickly and easily disinfect all surfaces in ambulances, equipment and stations. With the sprayers came four gallons of disinfectant.
On Monday members of the county Emergency Management Agency demonstrated the sprayers on a Montrose Minute Men ambulance parked behind the county emergency operations center. Daniel Totten, an emergency medical technician with the Montrose Minute Men explained that the disinfectant solution took about ten minutes to dry and that it was effective against various pathogens including COVID-19.
County commissioner chairwoman Elizabeth “Betsy” Arnold explained that the sprayers were purchased with PA Counties Workers’ Compensation Trust (PCOMP) Safety Improvement Program grant monies at no cost to taxpayers. Other county vehicles used for high volume people transporting by the sheriff’s office and children and youth services also received sprayers.
“The Susquehanna County Commissioners are pleased to be able to gift these Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayers to the twelve ambulance companies that serve the residents of Susquehanna County,” Arnold said.
“Since March we have worked diligently to protect our residents, and our employees at the county, by putting safety precautions in place. We are continually grateful to our Public Safety Department and to our local volunteers. Whether it be our volunteer firefighters, EMS workers, our medical facilities, or people working and running our local food pantries, we appreciate our constituents, and everyone doing their part to get us through this most difficult time in history,” Arnold added.
Fire companies that received grants include:
Meshoppen Volunteer Fire Dept. $5,000
Forest Lake Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 $13,637.46
Thompson Hose Co. $14,526.67
The Union Dale Volunteer Fire Co. $22,355
Columbia Hose Co. #1 $19,362.86
Great Bend Hose Co. #1 Inc. $24,883.04
Harford Volunteer Fire Co. $15,159.99
Nicholson Fire Co. No. 1 $5,000.00
United Fire Co. $24,509.53
Rush Volunteer Fire Department $9,539.84
Forest City Area Emergency Services $27,409.98
Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Co. Inc. $18,169.75
Clifford Township Volunteer Fire Co. $50,000
Hallstead Fire and Engine Hose Co. #1 $24,708
Ambulance companies which received sprayers include:
Barnes Kason EMS
Forest City EMS
Great Bend / Hallstead EMS
Little Meadows EMS
Montrose Minute Men EMS
New Milford EMS
Pleasant Mount EMS
Silver Lake EMS