Local fire departments receive thousands in grant money

By Nick Kovatch on March 3 at 1:25pm

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Five Morgan County fire departments were among nearly 200 in Illinois to share $4 million in state grant money to help purchase first-responder equipment.

The South Jacksonville Fire Department received just over $25,000. Chief David Hickox says some of the money will be used to purchase new turnout gear to replace equipment that is 10 to 12 years old.

“According to the NFPA standards, most that equipment like the bunker coats and the boots are usually good for about 10 years,” says Hickox. “So, we’ve exceeded our limits. We’re trying to get some of the replacement grant money instead of having to use tax dollars.”

Hickox says the money will also be used to purchase new radio equipment.

“The original radios we have now were purchased in 2004,” says Hickox. “They’re getting hard to repair, so we requested some new communication tools.”

The Meredosia and Murrayville Fire Departments each received $26,000. The Chapin Fire Department got more than $4,000 and the Jacksonville Fire Department received over $6,200.

The money comes from a small percentage of the sales of all fire insurance sold in Illinois. Departments are eligible for up to $26,000 grants.

The fire marshal’s office received 389 applications requesting more than double the money available. Each application was examined in a blind review by a committee of fire service members.