Several fire departments in the area have received a much needed financial boost thanks to the federal government, but those grants may not be sufficient to sustain the new demands from FEMA.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has forced every department to undergo extensive incident command training, and officials fear that will be too much for the smaller departments to handle.
The fire department in Lone Grove was one of the area beneficiaries, receiving a $150,000 grant. Last year, firefighters in Lone Grove battled more than 200 fires. They wore bunker gear that was decades old and air packs that became obsolete years ago.
With help from FEMA for the first time ever, Lone Grove has the money to purchase twenty-two new suits, air packs, thermal imagining equipment, and two ATVs.
But with that money FEMA has also stepped up demands. Regulations force every firefighter to complete incident command training, meaning volunteers must take time off work and away from their families to attend classes that could last several days.
Other fire departments that received grants include Byng, Clayton, Doughtery, Marieta, Hennepin, Leon, and Durant.