Submitted by Scott Trefz
Though delayed by ongoing COVID-related issues, the Canastota Area Association of Churches began its annual Volunteer First Responder Grant Program this 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 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 that these flexible grants allow each company to accomplish:
- Canastota Volunteer Fire Department used its 2019 grant on extrication tools to speed-up getting injured folks out of crushed automobile wrecks, increasing their chances of survival and recovery. Their 2020 funds went toward a large supply of the decontamination chemicals that the ‘COVID Age’ requires them to use on each call.
- The Greater Lenox Ambulance Service used its 2020 grant toward the installation of new auto-loading stretchers in both of their ambulances. The GLAS officers noted that these labor savers cost far less than the treatment of one EMT, should they suffer a back injury while loading patients.
- The Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department is purchasing a commercial capacity ice-making machine that will serve them double-duty: A large supply of ice is beneficial during hot fire scenes to pack onto overheated victims and firefighters, but will also help refrigerate food on the days of their famous fund-raising barbeques.
- The Wampsville Volunteer Fire Department recently bought a new rescue squad truck. The grant money will help them outfit it with improved brush firefighting equipment, a frequent need in the territory they cover.
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 men and women rescue responders do and counts it a privilege to help them. To assist in their planning this year, the CAAC has targeted the 2020 grants to be increased to at least $1,500 for each company. How the grant checks will be distributed is yet to be determined.
Editor’s note: Scott Trefz is a member of the CAAC Board of Directors and volunteer publicist for the organization.