Congressman McHenry Announces $7,505 Homeland Security Grant to Linville Volunteer Fire Department

Last week, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) announced a $7,505 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to a local fire department in the 10th Congressional District.

The grant will go to the Linville Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) in Avery County, and it comes in the first round of this year’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which helps firefighters and first responders throughout the country.

Local departments applied for the grants, and the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration, administered the program.

Linville VFD grant funds will be used to purchase a thermal imager for the department. The imager will help firefighters find the source of fires and unseen hot spots more quickly, thereby enabling the department to attack the fire faster. It is also a valuable tool in picking up the heat given off by humans in search operations.

“[The thermal imaging camera] makes our job a lot easier,” said Nathan Elliott, Linville VFD captain.

“Linville VFD covers a vast, mountainous response area and the thermal imager will be a valuable tool for this department, not just in firefighting, but with search and rescue operations for missing persons,” McHenry said. “I have seen the capabilities of imagers such as this while touring several fire departments and the technology is truly remarkable.”

The Linville VFD has applied for the grant each of the past seven or eight years that it has been available, Elliott said.

The department has received the FEMA grant, which is awarded toward specific equipment purchases, three times now, he added.

The department applied for the recently awarded grant in May 2009, Elliott said.

Thus far in this year’s fiscal cycle, $234,058 has been awarded to six departments in the 10th District.

Last year, $1,743,884 was awarded in 26 grants to 24 departments in the 10th District and at least one department in each of the district’s 10 counties received a grant.

Grants will continue to be announced weekly through the coming months.