Alabaster, Calera fire departments awarded $413,000 grant

The Alabaster and Calera fire departments recently received a nearly $413,000 grant to improve safety in both cities. (File)

The Alabaster and Calera fire departments recently received a nearly $413,000 grant to improve safety in both cities. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

The Alabaster and Calera fire departments will be better equipped to respond to emergency situations – including joint response emergencies – thanks to a nearly $413,000 federal grant.

U.S. Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District announced the grant, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Sept. 3 after the two fire departments filed a joint grant application.

The departments will use the grants to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses and emergency response kits. Because the two departments will purchase identical equipment with the grant, it will allow them to “standardize training and response practices in both communities,” Bachus wrote.

“The cooperation between the fire and rescue services in Calera and Alabaster is a model for how neighboring departments and communities can form partnerships to better serve their residents,” Bachus wrote in a statement. “The departments are to be commended for working together and the result is that they have been selected to receive one of the largest fire grants ever awarded in the Sixth District.”

When neighboring fire departments use different equipment, it can “complicate joint responses to fire and rescue calls,” Bachus wrote.

“We are very excited about this grant because it will allow us to obtain essential equipment to better serve our communities and enhance public safety. When someone calls 9-1-1, it means the closest fire truck will be able to respond with similarly trained and equipped personnel,” Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden wrote in a statement. “It has been a good experience to collaborate with our neighbor because we are all here to help other people.”

Calera Fire Chief Sean Kendrick said Alabaster and Calera respond to many calls together, and said the grant will help to improve safety in both cities.

“Calera and Alabaster approached this together because we handle many emergencies together,” Kendrick wrote. “The grant will allow us to match our equipment, training and response procedures, creating an interoperable system that puts safety first.”