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FEMA grant assist PFD in truck purchase

By By BRIAN BLACKLEY
Advance Publisher
Residents in the Poarch area will soon have reason to sleep a little better at night thanks to a federal grant that will help the Poarch Band of Creek Indians buy a new fire truck to help improve safety in the area.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced that $79,200 will go to the Poarch Volunteer Fire Department to be used to purchase a new brush truck. The money is made available through a grant that requires a contribution on the local level of 10 percent.
Originally, Mack and Poarch Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ronnie Jackson thought their project wouldn't meet grant guidelines that specified that reservation areas could not be considered for the funds.
The truck will be used to respond to the 50-60 brush fire calls that go out on average each year, Mack said.
Currently the Poarch Volunteer Fire Department which consists of 37 volunteers plus a full-time chief has three trucks – two pumpers and one tanker. The brush truck will have a 250-gallon capacity increase over the department's largest pumper.
The fire department also covers a 46-square-mile area, meaning that the department has a lot of land to protect.
Mack said she appreciates the cooperation of FEMA, and the haste in which FEMA officials issued the grant.
Mack said the volunteer fire department is now planning to focus its energies on obtaining grants to purchase a fire safety house that will be used to educate children throughout the Southeast about the hazards fires cause.
Mack said the department will apply for a grant this year through the U.S. Center for Disease Control to help fund the project.