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Fire department to buy equipment with grants

Thomson City Council received word Feb. 10 that Thomson Fire/Rescue has received a $62,510 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The department will use the money for a new breathing apparatus.

The Rev. John Smalley, the councilman who serves as the contact with Thomson Fire/Rescue, said the new apparatus will be much lighter.

Mayor Kenneth Usry said the city will need to pay a 5 percent match, or $3,290. He said that is still a good deal for the city.

City Administrator Don Powers said it is "a rather complicated grant, paperwork-wise."

Mayor Usry said both of Georgia's U.S. senators were asked to support this year's successful application. Stipulations were spelled out in a letter from FEMA official Elizabeth M. Harman to Johnny Crawley, the deputy chief of Thomson Fire/Rescue.

The council also approved the purchase of a thermal imaging camera for fire personnel. The council approved the lowest of four quotes entered by Georgia Fire & Rescue Supply of Canton, Ga., at $10,400.

Funding sources are: Jefferson Energy Cooperative, a $3,000 grant; Thomson Walmart, $1,000; Tony Amerson, donation, $500; Thomson Fire Department-FSE Account, $500; and city of Thomson, Capital Fund, $5,400.

Fire personnel researched and evaluated several cameras before deciding on the Bullard T3 Max camera.

According to the company's Web site, the camera identifies heat sources by detecting infrared radiation. The screen shows hotter images as white, cooler objects as black.

In a final matter related to the fire service, Councilman Smalley expressed concern about cramped quarters at the fire station.

The mayor and city administrators said expansion will have to wait until money is available from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Original SPLOST strategy called for expansion first and then purchase of a fire truck. The fire department opted instead to buy a new truck first.

Web posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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