LCRA, PEC award $24,771 grant to Florence Volunteer Fire Department

Mobile crash barrier will protect first responders, others at crash sites

The following press release is courtesy of LCRA.

FLORENCE, Texas – With the help of a $24,771 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the Florence Volunteer Fire Department will purchase an attenuator that acts as a mobile crash barrier to protect the public and first responders at sites of vehicle collisions.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,057 in matching funds from the department, will pay for a trailer-mounted attenuator that can be attached to the department’s various vehicles. It is designed to absorb the impact of a rear-end collision and help protect first responders and others by lessening the chance a motorist will crash into an emergency vehicle at the scene.

“Hats off to LCRA for making this possible,” Fire Chief Ray Cummings said. “This will be a game changer in the way we protect first responders and victims of car accidents on high-speed roadways.”

Cummings said the mobile barrier is “a tremendous asset when you’re talking about safety – and not just for us. If it is needed to protect another emergency scene on these high-speedway roadways, we’re going to deploy it. It will be available for mutual aid.”

In October, Cummings and Florence firefighters learned first-hand the importance of having an attenuator at a crash scene. After arriving at an accident scene on State Highway 195 in Williamson County, first responders were in the immediate vicinity when a car traveling about 85 mph struck the department’s fire engine. Fortunately, neither the driver nor first responders were seriously injured, but the $350,000 fire engine was a total loss.

“Our department is still down one of our two engines, which puts a strain on providing proper fire protection to our roughly 130-square-mile service area in northern Williamson County,” said Cummings, whose department has borrowed an engine from Travis County Emergency Services District No. 1 in the interim.

“We were blessed that the driver and our firefighters didn’t suffer serious injuries, but the damage to our engine led me to start doing research on attenuators,” Cummings added. “I found an attenuator that could be pulled behind a firefighting apparatus and I reached out to the LCRA. We were so stoked when we got the email that we had been awarded the grant.”

The community grant is one of 34 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 July. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.

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