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Tenn. flood delays fire gear delivery

Even those who protect others against the things they can’tcontrol sometime run into problems.

Loyd Star Volunteer Fire Department’s $156,000 grant for newfirefighting equipment was the second-largest Assistance toFirefighters equipment grant in the state this year, but thatdidn’t keep the forces of nature from tampering with the gear as itmade its way to protect the citizens of northwestern LincolnCounty.

The delivery of the new turnout gear that Loyd Star VFD was soeagerly awaiting was held up by possibly more than a month when aPro-Fire Equipment truck found itself under water during theflooding in Nashville.

“It was because of what happened in Nashville that the gear wasdelayed here,” said Pro-Fire representative Ron Johnson. “We hadsome of the Scott equipment in a truck there, and when they had theflooding, a pickup truck and the Scott trailer went underwater withall our computers and our service equipment in there as well.”

But that wasn’t the end of the troubles, Johnson said.

“When they sent two trucks after the water cleared, one was topull the truck back and the other was to pull the trailer back,” hesaid. “The one with the truck got away and rolled the truck anddestroyed it.”

Luckily nobody was injured. But it did cause a bit of a holdup,to say the least.

So, better late than never, Loyd Star department members andofficials said, and they held a celebration Monday night at theWestern Sizzlin in Brookhaven to celebrate the arrival of their newgear. Lincoln County Fire Coordinator Clifford Galey said thesituation illustrates why it’s always important to be prepared forabsolutely anything.

“This goes to show you that you should always be ready for theunexpected, because of all things, a natural disaster caused thisdelivery to be late,” he said. “It had nothing to do with theoutcome of how this works, but you can never be too prepared forany disaster.”

Now that it’s here, the top-of-the-line firefighting equipmentwill be a blessing not only to firefighters but also to members ofthe county. A special 75 percent Kevlar mix, the gear is much moredurable under fire and extrication situations, as it is much lesslikely to tear or degrade.

“The big thing is the high-tech materials,” Johnson said.”Because with the Kevlar in it, it’s extremely durable and tough,and it’s not prone to tears and rips.”

Loyd Star Chief Mark Porter said the grant that brought in thegear is also paying for Volunteer I Certification for everyone inthe department, which he said will bring a new level ofprofessionalism.

“It’s bringing us way up,” he said. “We’ve taken a lot ofclasses and our folks are learning a lot of new information on howto fight fire. And I think sometimes having the best gear makes youwant to be the best kind of firefighter.”

Firefighter Emile Gennaro agreed that the training is asimportant a part of the process as any gear. In addition, he said,the experience is helping with the department’s understanding ofthe need for preparation.

“You want to hope for the best, but you have to be prepared forthe worst,” he said.