Poarch Fire Department receives $71,730

Published 3:54 am Monday, February 14, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
The Poarch Creek Volunteer Fire Department has just received $71,730 from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Fire Administration's Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program.
"I am extremely pleased the Department of Homeland Security has approved this funding for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians," Congressman Jo Bonner said in a released statement. "The residents of the Poarch community in Atmore are to be strongly commended for their efforts in recent years to enhance the service provided by their department and, through that process, provide a greater degree of safety and fire prevention for their area."
According to Arlene Mack, the communications officer for Poarch Creek, the grant, which was applied for in June of 2004 is for fire safety and prevention programs.
Part of the money will go towards paying a new fulltime employee.
"We're excited, the only paid personnel we have at the fire department at this time is our fire chief," she said. "We hope to have a paid fire safety officer with this money."
Part of the funding has already gone towards mascots that will be used to help teach children fire safety.
"Part of our funding has gone to a Sparky the firedog prop and a Pluggy the fire plug prop for children," she said. "The younger your target audience the more they'll learn in their lifetime."
Some of the money will go to school supplies for fire safety as well as fire detection and prevention techniques.
"Most of the grants we see are for fire operations and equipment," Matt Rhodes, press secretary for Jo Bonner's office, said. "This is actually for education and fire prevention to make sure fire codes are enforced, fire alarms and sprinklers are installed as well as the prevention of arson."
According to Rhodes individuals can be trained to protect against arson.
"If individuals are trained to detect hot spots and prevent arson before it happens it can be stopped," he said. "That would be much better than investigating arson after it happens."
This is a relatively new program from the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
"The ones we've actually had the most experience with for fire departments around Escambia are for new equipment and gear," Rhodes said. "This one is only few years old and it was instituted by Homeland after 9-11 and the threats of terrorist attacks."
According to Rhodes, Bonner hopes this program will allow Poarch to do more in the community.
"He's really thrilled about this," Rhodes said. "Poarch Band has worked for a few years to really make an impact in the community and this is really going to help that."
The grant is good for one year of program funding for Poarch. According to information provided by Jo Bonner's office, this funding can be used for anything from public education and awareness activities to the purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems.

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