Three local fire departments receive portion of $1.4 million grant

Three local fire departments receive portion of $1.4 million grant

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Sixteen Mississippi fire departments received $1.4 million grant to improve operation and safety efforts, including the Laurel and Hattiesburg Fire Departments and Mount Olive Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant, given by FEMA, will help the departments acquire new equipment and train firefighters.

"It's definitely going to help us budget wise," said Hattiesburg Fire Chief Paul Presley. "The total grant is about $26,000, and I think we only have to match $2,000 of it."

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran announced the grants and said in a press release the money will help ensure the departments are "as well-equipped and well-trained as possible."

Presley agreed saying the grant would significant boost the department's training budget.

"We only get like $11,000 for training," he said. "So an additional $26,000 is extremely helpful, and that allows us to do some extra training throughout the year instead of just being limited to that $11,000."

Presley said the extra training may include a trip to Colorado to be trained to handle weapons of mass destruction. He also said the money would allow the department to send more firefighters to each training class.

"Instead of waiting until the next budget year, we can get more people the training now with the extra money," Presley said.

The Laurel Fire Department will receive $85,932 with the Hattiesburg Fire Department and Mount Olive Volunteer Fire and Rescue receiving $26,662 and $24,953 respectively.