Three Boyle agencies receive Ky Homeland Security grants

Published 8:02 am Friday, October 6, 2017

Mike Wilder, director of Danville-Boyle County Emergency Management

Three Boyle County agencies have received a total of $62,800 in grant funding from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.

Overall, there are 114 grant recipients across 77 counties in Kentucky, for a total of $2.86 million. The money is to help purchase law enforcement, fire and emergency services equipment.

Danville-Boyle County Emergency Management Director Mike Wilder said his agency was awarded $22,000 to replace an existing weather siren in the county.

Email newsletter signup

“I actually applied for three, but they just awarded me one. Which is normal — you always ask for more,” Wilder said.

The three sirens — in Mitchellsburg, Parksville and Junction City — are nearing 30 years old, Wilder said, and there have been maintenance issues with all of them in recent years. The new siren will be a stronger, louder siren. He has not yet decided which one will be replaced first. 

The Perryville Fire Department received $21,300 for personal protection equipment. Chief Anthony Young said they will use that money to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units for firefighters.

“This certainly, for a small agency like Perryville, is a huge benefit for us and a good start for what we’re going after,” Young said. 

Chief Anthony Young, Perryville Fire Department

The SCBA packs are between $5,000 and $6,000 each. With the money, he said, they plan to buy four. Initially, they had hoped for six, but Young said they were thankful for being able to purchase what they can.

“We’ll take that and get moving with it. It might be that we can use part of our state aid (funding) to buy the other two. We’ll figure out a way to get the other two,” Young said. 

The department’s current SCBAs are about 14 years old. The parts, he said, are getting harder to find. While they could try to wait and continue using them, the cylinders that are part of the apparatus are limited to 15 years.

“It’s a necessity,” Young said. “SCBAs are critical for any type of structure fire or hazmat call. This gives us a huge opportunity through a competitive grant, to save the taxpayers of Perryville a lot of money.” 

It also keeps the firefighters safe.

“Times have changed. First and foremost in the fire service right now, cancer related to smoke and other toxic gases from fires, is a huge killer of firefighters in the United States,” Young said. “That’s why SCBAs and SCBA use on any type of fire is critical. If we don’t take care of our firefighters — that’s got to be our number 1 priority is making sure we keep our guys safe.”

Young also said it was important to thank the Bluegrass Area Development District, the lead agency in applying for the grants for the three local agencies, and especially Leann Lacy, community development specialist there.

“She’s a huge help,” he said. “Kudos to her.”

The third agency, the Boyle County Fire Department, was awarded $19,500 for search and rescue equipment. Chief Donnie Sexton said the agency will use the money to replace the department’s thermal imaging cameras, ensuring each station would have one.

“It’s a really nice grant to get for us,” Sexton said.

Imaging cameras can range from $3,000 for a basic one to $10,000 for one with “bells and whistles,” he said. The department plans to buy basic units.

They currently have some cameras, but they are about 15 years old, he said, and have “outlived their useful life,” because of the type of technology used.

Recently, Sexton said, the Boyle County Fire Department Board approved a request to buy four gas monitors and the cameras will go along with that.

“It will help our guys do a better job with firefighting and with search and rescue,” he said.

Grant applications had to be submitted in January, Wilder said. According to a press release from the Kentucky General Government Cabinet, there were 259 applications, requesting $13 million total.