SOLEDAD — After 17 years of service to the Soledad community, the time arrived for the City of Soledad to replace its trusted fire engine with a new, state-of-the-art model.
Made possible by the Assistance of Firefighters Grant Program of the Department of Homeland Security, and the City of Soledad, at a cost of $532,000, the City was able to purchase a custom fire engine made specifically to serve the community and the Mission Soledad Rural Fire Protection District.
“By partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, we were able to bring the best model fire engine for our community at a fraction of the cost,” said City Manager Michael McHatten. “Through innovative partnerships, we will continue strengthening our City’s public safety infrastructure while also being mindful of how we spend taxpayer dollars.”
Although a small city, Soledad averages over 1,600 calls per year for emergency services. When those emergency calls are made, Soledad residents, and the firefighters responding to the calls, need to have the confidence that the fire truck is up for the challenge.
“As first responders, we have to be able to respond to any type of call at anytime,” said John Owens, assistant chief for Cal Fire. “The new fire truck will allow for us to continue serving our community without ever having to worry about the dependability of our emergency vehicle.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the Nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Since fiscal year 2001, the AFG Program has provided approximately $6.7 billion in grants to first responder organizations to obtain much needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training.
The purpose of the AFG Program is to award grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first responder personnel. Using a competitive process that is overseen by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.