Volunteer Fire Dept. Grant

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Echo's Volunteer Fire Department has recently received over $114,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to upgrade their operations and safety equipment.

Almost $570,000 was recently given to seven fire departments in the state. The Echo Volunteer Fire Department received over 20 percent of that money.

Volunteer fire officials say this money will go to buying equipment they've needed for a while.

"We're fortunate to have this. We operate on a fixed income that's about $12,000 dollars a year. Insurance alone, vehicle upkeep and maintains uses that up. We're in a dire need of this," says President of the Echo Volunteer Fire Department, Jimmy Ward.

Of the $114,000, a little over $104,000 will go towards personal protective equipment, like a new breathing apparatus.

The money comes from the Department of Homeland Security, but it won't go just to the station located in the Echo community.

"We have just expanded another station. We added a second station in our coverage area. It's going to give about 50% more coverage area than our current station does as far as fire coverage and rescue coverage," says Ward.

There is a five percent match that should run close to $7000 dollars.

The Daleville Volunteer Fire Department was also awarded a grant that was over $63,000. They will use that money for equipment and training.

Of the seven stations awarded grants last Friday, the Bessemer Fire Department located near Birmingham received the most money; they received more than $243,000.