Blue & You Grant Presentation

The Hamburg Fire Department will upgrade its self-contained breathing apparatus after receiving a $99,536 grant from the Blue & You Foundation. Those who attended the grant presentation included Jerry Breedlove, Hamburg Fire Chief Tim Hollis, Kenny Laughlin, who wrote the grant, Brad Gray, Blue Cross Blue Shield Representative Jason Aud, Heath Breedlove, Steven Dumas, Wesley Breedlove, Hamburg Mayor Dane Weindorf, Brandy Dye with Ashley County 911 and Kevin Norton.

Hamburg’s firefighters will be getting new equipment soon.

The Hamburg Fire Department received nearly $100,000 in grant funds to purchase 13 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to protect the city’s 21 firefighters earlier this fall.

And after previously getting the word about it, the department ceremonially received the grant at a presentation last week.

Fire Chief Tim Hollis said that an employee, Kenny Laughlin, actually wrote the grant for the fire station and the application was submitted over the summer. The exact amount awarded was $99,536.

The Blue &You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced their annual grant winners in November.

The department’s current SCBA cache consists of thirteen air packs, and 23 spare bottles. Those units include a mix of SCBAs with key safety parts that are not interchangeable with the other SCBAs, many of the air cylinders are nearing their end of life date, and they do not meet current National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Standards.

“(The) Hamburg Fire Department seeks to provide adequate safety resources to our firefighters by utilizing these funds to purchase 13 new SCBAs that meet current NFPA standards,” a fire department spokesperson said. “The new SCBAs offer some of the latest technology available to firefighters regarding safety and efficiency while operating in immediately dangerous to life or health environments.”

The new devices will include:

-Alarms that are triggered automatically when a firefighter is motionless or activated manually when a firefighter is trapped or lost so they can be found and rescued.

-A shoulder-strap mounted speaker module that provides loud and clear communications from the regulator microphone while maintaining low profile to aid in reducing snag points.

-An integrated Thermal Imaging Camera to provide every firefighter with the ability to see within dark and smoke-filled environments, which will aid in operational speed and effectiveness

-An Emergency Breathing Supply System that uses intermediate-pressure air to provide firefighters with emergency breathing air by allowing firefighters to quickly and easily interconnect to fellow firefighter’s air supply.

Additionally, each firefighter will be issued an individual facepiece that they have been fit tested to wear ensuring a proper fit and seal.

“The Hamburg Fire Department is extremely grateful to the Arkansas Blue & You Foundation for funding such vital program that helps better serve each member of the community,” the spokesperson said. “Hamburg Fire Department is committed to the safety of our city and surrounding communities.” 

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas and since has awarded nearly 33 million dollars to 1,566 different health improvement projects. This year the foundation awarded a total of $2,733,532 in grants to 42 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

According to their website, this year the Blue & You Foundation received 232 grant applications requesting $17 million in support. The 2019 grant selections were made by Blue & You Foundation board members: Robert D. Cabe, chairman of the board, Little Rock; Mark Greenway, Lowell; James V. Kelley, Little Rock; Carla Martin, Pine Bluff; Dan Nabholz, Conway; Rex Terry, Fort Smith; and Mark White, Little Rock.

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