UPDATED: Federal fire grants awarded to Calera, Vincent

By BRAD GASKINS/Staff Writer

Two local fire departments have been awarded federal fire grants.

The Calera Fire Department received $115,948 for operations and safety.

The Vincent Volunteer Fire Department got $238,925 for vehicle acquisition.

Calera and Vincent were two of 13 fire departments statewide to share in a total of $1.775 million in grant money through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Program.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., announced the grants Wednesday, Jan. 19.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our first responders are adequately prepared to respond to any event,” Shelby said.

Bachus said the grant program helps ensure that local fire departments have the necessary resources to quickly and effectively respond to emergency calls.

Bachus commended both departments for qualifying for the grant.

Calera will use the money to upgrade radio equipment in the fire station.

Calera Fire Chief Sean Kendrick said the upgrade will increase the department’s communications abilities and enhance response capabilities.

Vincent will use the grant money to purchase a new pumper truck.

“Our existing vehicles are 20-30 years old and require constant maintenance,” Vincent Chief Michael Smiley said. “This is something we have been working on for a long time, and we would like to thank Congressman Bachus for all his assistance.”

Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister said he’s “very thankful” for the grant.

“We will be able to better respond and have the same capabilities that larger cities and towns have,” McAllister said.