Linden VFD awarded $5,000 grant

Published 11:53 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Linden Volunteer Fire Department took a huge step forward in getting a vital piece of equipment replaced. Thanks to a $5000 grant from Georgia-Pacific, the fire department will be able to place a down payment on a new air compressor to fill air bottles.

The bottles allow fire fighters to enter areas filled with smoke or other contaminants and provide rescue service that otherwise could not be accomplished.

The fire department received the grant for being named a 2008 Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade. GP selected winners for the honor in 23 communities throughout the United States. Four departments were selected in Alabama, including the Lisman Volunteer Fire Department in Choctaw County.

“We reviewed many worthwhile requests from firefighting units, and this one stood out as a genuine need,” said Georgia-Pacific Naheola Mill Manager Kelvin Hill, who presented the check. “The new compressor will cut time required for filling an air bottle from 30 to 10 minutes, providing an additional margin of safety for firefighters and citizens endangered in emergency situations.”

“This grant will enable us to better serve the people of Linden and the surrounding area,” said Linden fire chief James Creel. “We are very appreciative to have been selected for this honor.”

Now in its third year, the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade initiative has contributed more than $300,000 to help rural and small town fire units. The grants are used to purchase much-needed equipment (even basics such as hoses, nozzles and turnout gear) and to provide essential training that helps protect the lives and property of residents as well as the firefighters themselves.

Creel said the new compressor will replace an old compressor that is approximately 20 years old. “This will make a huge difference for us,” he said.

The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade is a national program that recognizes the contributions of fire communities with Georgia-Pacific facilities. The program supports firefighters in several areas including product and cash donations for programming and equipment, and safety education materials for presentations in local schools.

“Small town and volunteer fire and rescue departments provide the majority of the emergency services coverage in our country,” said Jim Hannan, CEO and president, Georgia-Pacific. “We believe that helping local units purchase essential equipment makes our communities safer for everyone and shows our support for the services that they provide. This is a dangerous work and we are thankful for their commitment and education.”

Applications for the 2009 Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade program will be available May 2009. Details are available by emailing gpbucketbrigade@gapac.com.