Local firefighters awarded grant for equipment

By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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Lincoln’s highrises and big-box stores are safer now, thanks to the initiative of two local firefighters and a $7,000 grant from Thunder Valley Casino.

Firefighters Scott McKinney and John Ferry wrote a grant to purchase specialized firefighting equipment to man two fire engines at Station No. 35 at Twelve Bridges. The money came through a grant from Thunder Valley Casino last May.

McKinney and Ferry, who are the official grant writers for their fire station, took a grant-writing class at the University of California at Davis a few years ago to learn how to write grants for the fire department.

Grants are one way of getting needed equipment during difficult financial times, according to McKinney.

In 2010, McKinney and Ferry also won $200,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase radio equipment for the fire station.

“That was the first grant we’ve ever gotten. Every fire department in the country puts in for these grants so we were really lucky,” McKinney said.

McKinney, who began his career with the Lincoln Fire Department in 2005, said the grant enabled his company to buy specialized equipment to fight fires in high- rises and large buildings.

“Anytime you go into a large commercial space such as Lowe’s, Home Depot or highrises like the hotel at Thunder Valley, you need to take in bigger hoses,” McKinney explained.

The equipment comprises 300 feet of lightweight hoses, two smooth-bore nozzles and two in-line pressure gauges.

“Seven-thousand dollars seems like a lot of money but it’s all heavy-duty and lightweight,” McKinney said.

Firefighters strap on about 50 pounds of gear before they add a hose line, heavy-duty flashlight and hand tools, such as an axe, according to McKinney. They also carry about 50-foot lengths of hose slung over one shoulder.

“This lightweight synthetic hose is roughly half the weight that we normally carry,” McKinney said.

Most fire company hoses are one-inch in diameter, McKinney said, while the specialized high rise hoses run  2 1/2 inches in diameter to handle the increased water needed for “heavy fuel load” fires. These fires involve highly-combustible materials such as upholstery, furniture and hazardous materials, which might include gasoline or toxic substances.

McKinney said this type of specialized hose was used during the October 2010 fire at the 1.3 million-square-foot Roseville Galleria mall. The blaze caused $55 million in damage, according to

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