New safety gear will help department outfit three new firefighters
The following press release is courtesy of LCRA.
BLANCO COUNTY, Texas – Thanks to a $24,750 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the Round Mountain Volunteer Fire Department will purchase safety gear for three new firefighters.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $11,120 in matching funds from the department, will pay for three custom-fit sets of personal protective equipment and three portable handheld radios. Each firefighter will receive heavy-duty PPE that can be worn while fighting structure fires, as well as lighter safety gear for use while fighting wildland fires or at the scene of a vehicle accident or medical incident.
The new gear will meet safety standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.
“We were both excited and kind of relieved by this grant because we had candidates lined up to join our department, but we didn’t have gear for them yet,” said William “Bill” Burden, captain and VFD board president. “Without the grant, we really couldn’t bring on three new volunteers. They need the right gear to go into situations that inherently have risk.”
Round Mountain VFD is in north Blanco County and has about 20 volunteer firefighters. The department’s service area covers about 250 square miles and includes roughly 2,200 residents. Round Mountain VFD also provides mutual aid to first responders in Blanco, Burnet, Gillespie, Hays, Llano and Travis counties.
In recent years, the department’s number of service calls has risen significantly, reflecting the jump in Blanco County’s population, which increased 9.2 percent from 2020 to 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.
More residents create a need for more first responders, and each responder must be supplied with appropriate equipment, Burden said.
Burden said the addition of a new STAR Flight base being built adjacent to the VFD’s station led the department to purchase a new fire engine and expand its station to upgrade its emergency response efforts.
“There’s a large amount of needs our department is trying to fill with donations,” Burden said. “We have to stretch our fundraising donations as far as we can. LCRA providing grant money like this extends our capability to support our community. Thank you for giving.”
The community grant is one of 45 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.