Canastota Churches kickoff 2019 Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Grant fundraising

Wampsville Volunteer Fire Department President Monte Colucci shows off the department’s new extrication device, purchased with last year’s CAAC grant money.

The Canastota Area Association of Churches began its annual Volunteer First Responder Grant Program last week with appeal letters sent to area businesses, civic groups and individuals who have supported the program in the past.  These vital grants are an opportunity for Canastota’s four volunteer organizations to acquire needed equipment or “shore-up” program expenses.

Each group of officers was recently asked about what they did with their funds to get an idea of the impact the program is having. This listing illustrates the variety of priorities which these flexible grants allow each company to accomplish:

  • The Canastota VFD has been applying their funds to install automatic electronic defibrillators in various locations. These have included the fire hall itself and on each truck that responds to emergencies. Their chief points out that AEDs have been needed not only for reviving fire and crash victims, but also for firemen and bystanders under the stress and heat of fully involved structure fires.
  • The Greater Lenox Ambulance Service uses its grant money to keep on top of training. Each responder’s annual certification can cost $25, and any leftover money is applied to special courses or the expense of providing training to community groups.
  • The Lincoln VFD in Clockville recently opened a badly needed new fire barn and headquarters. The building itself is beautiful, but there wasn’t enough funding to equip “non-essential” areas. They are using their grant money to equip their kitchen and plan to use this year’s check to cover the cost of a new freezer, which will allow them to resume those famous chicken BBQ fundraisers.
  • The Wampsville VFD officers actually drove a pumper truck to the April presentation breakfast. Their Colucci couldn’t wait to show everyone their Colum-Master extrication device used in severe vehicle crashes to pull a collapsed steering wheel away from the trapped driver. This clever device lets one responder do the work of two to three men without it and saves critical minutes in the rescue process, sometimes the difference between life and death.

The needs of each corps are different as night and day, but the grant money is often the margin of victory accomplishing their goals. The Canastota Area Association of Churches is proud of the work our first responders do and considers it a privilege to help them.

To assist in their planning next year, the CAAC has announced the 2019 grants will increase to $1,000 for each company.

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