Hood River and Parkdale Fire receive training funds

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

December 27, 2006

Two of Hood River County’s fire departments have received grants for training through the efforts of Rep. Greg Walden.

“I’m always pleased to see responsible federal investments being made for public services in our communities,” Walden said.

The Parkdale Rural Fire Protection District received a $19,413 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Dec. 20, which it will use to develop new training programs and acquire curriculum resources. Those materials will help Parkdale firefighters and integrate with training efforts by bordering districts and departments.

Parkdale Fire Chief Mike McCafferty said the grant helps his department with developing more realistic training programs based on actual situations.

“The grant will help the department considerably to make advancements, particularly since our training budget is otherwise just $5,000,” he said.

In November, the Hood River Fire Department received a $26,514 grant through the same program of the Department of Homeland Security. Hood River will use its funds to help the department develop training and fitness programs. Assistant Chief Devon Wells said the money assists Hood River on keeping programs current for firefighters’ fitness.

“Cardiovascular problems are the leading causes of fatality among firefighters,” Wells said. “This grant-funded program enables the department to promote each firefighter’s health and have an immeasurable impact on safety.”

The federal program that funds the grants is designed to help both local firefighters and emergency response personnel with their needs, including training and other resources such as equipment or vehicles.

Both McCafferty and Wells said Walden’s support of their program over the years has been helpful to the fire departments.

“I really appreciate all of Congressman Walden’s longstanding support,” McCafferty said. “It has made a big difference to our efforts.”

Walden wrote in April 2006 to the DHS headquarters in support of both applications.

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