• 72°

Fire grant will assist New Hebron

New Hebron Volunteer Fire Department has received more than$18,000 through the federal Assistance to Firefighters Program topurchase and replace needed equipment.

Fire Chief George Walker said the 18-member fire department willuse the $18,620 to purchase a thermal-imagery camera and replace 10sets of worn-out turnout gear.

“We’re trying to update some of our older stuff,” he said of theturnout gear.

The thermal-imagery camera will be only the second in thecounty, Walker said. Monticello Fire Department purchases a cameraearlier this year through grant funds it had obtained through theprogram on another cycle.

The camera will be extremely beneficial to the department incertain circumstances, the chief said.

“You can see and locate the hidden fires with it. That meansless time trying to find fires in attics, walls and other difficultto search areas,” Walker said.

Time is crucial in fighting fires and the earlier a fire can belocated, the less damage it can cause, he said.

In addition, the camera can be used for search and rescue tolocate people in fires and on manhunts or missing person calls, hesaid.

The department had requested $21,000 to cover the costs of thepurchases, Walker said.

“It will still pay for everything we applied for,” he said,because the retailer has made some adjustments in their prices tomake the sale.

Walker said he expects to be able to purchase the new gear intwo to three weeks.

New Hebron was one of eight departments statewide to receivefunding this cycle. It received the least amount of those fundedwith the second lowest department funded being the Fort BayouVolunteer Fire Department in Ocean Springs, which received$33,250.

The largest portion of this cycle’s funding went to HollySprings Fire Department, which received $272,080.

Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and Reps. Chip Pickering andRoger Wicker strongly support the program each year.

The Assistance to Firefighters Program consists of funds madeavailable by Congress and are used to purchase equipment that willmake those departments more efficient, help protect firefighters,provide emergency management services or fund fire prevention andsafety programs.