Fire Department Gets New Home, FEMA Grants

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By Cory L. Higgs

After three long years, the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department is moving into its new home and you are invited to the open house on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Those attending the open house will enjoy a day of fun and a behind the scenes glimpse of what it takes to protect the community. The event also will help mark the 104th year of the SVFD serving the community.

The event kicks off at noon with demonstrations on how to use household fire extinguishers; the AirCare helicopter will make an appearance at 1:30 p.m.; demonstrations of vehicular extraction are set for 3 p.m., followed by a public safety apparatus parade at 6 p.m. Dinner will follow.

The SVFD purchased the vacant Food Lion building in 2016 and have been renovating the property.

The department also learned it would receive a FEMA grant to help pay for new life-saving equipment for the new firehouse.

“We were awarded $103,619.04 from our $108,000.00 that we asked for. There is a 5 percent match from the awarded department,” a press release from Chris Corbett, attorney for the Town of Stuart and Public Information Officer for the fire department, stated “Having proper equipment such as SCBAs or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, and the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) packs will enhance safety and efficiency during all operations. Obtaining 16 new SCBAs and two RIT packs will bring Stuart Fire Department 16 years into the current age of NFPA standards. These new SCBAs will provide invaluable assistance and peace of mind for every firefighter who “packs up” without having to manipulate or stress over the outdated mechanics of our current packs.”

The SCBA is an air tank which contains compressed air to allow the firefighter to breathe in oxygen lacking environments or when toxins in the air make it unsafe to breathe.

The grant will help update old equipment and remove the need to continually search and repair the outdated SCBA’s the firehouse currently has. The average lifespan of one of these devices is about 20 years, officials said.