Dry Ridge receives federal grant

-A A +A

By Bryan Marshall

By The Staff

 The Dry Ridge Fire Department recently received a financial boost from the federal government.

DRFD is one of four Kentucky fire departments that has received Assistance to Firefighters Grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The department was awarded the most of any of the departments with $106,858 in funds.

The largest portion of the grant will be used to install a diesel exhaust extraction system at the station to protect the health and safety of the firefighters, said Chief Robert Bruin.

“When you start up these big trucks, they put out a lot of diesel exhaust,” he said. “This system will take that exhaust straight from the truck to the outside of the building. It’s a firefighter health issue. Nobody wants to breathe that or get that all over their clothes. We have a couple older trucks, and, the older the truck, the worse it is.”

A portion of the money also will be used to purchase two new AED/heart monitors for paramedics in the department.

After the purchase, a monitor will be in all of the department’s ambulances.

The smallest part of the grant will be used for an EMT class for Dry Ridge volunteer firefighters and other local firefighters.

Receiving grant money is vital to the department, said Bruin.

“It’s very critical because it’s hard to come up with $60,000 for an exhaust system and $40,000 for new heart monitors above and beyond our normal day-to-day operations, especially with times being so tough,” he said. “We’re getting $106,000 and the city has to spend $5,000. It’s a real good grant. If we didn’t get it, it would be awhile before we could make these upgrades.”

While it was not purchased through grant funds, the department also recently purchased another new piece of equipment to help save lives.

The Auto Pulse assists the department by performing compressions on patients suffering cardiac arrest.

At a cost of $14,000, the equipment includes a hard board that goes underneath a patient and straps that meet in the middle over the patient.

DRFD has the first Auto Pulse in the county and one of only a handful in the northern Kentucky area, said Assistant Chief Joe Jameson.

“It allows us to free up a guy so you don’t have to have as many people working a cardiac arrest,” he said. “More importantly than that, it provides excellent compressions for the entire time. With me, after two or three minutes after doing compressions, I’m completely worn out. We used it the other day for about 20 minutes and it did just as good compressions at the beginning as it did in the end.”

The department has used the Auto Pulse twice since it got the equipment in February.

During one call, the machine helped save the life of a woman who down for about 15 minutes, Jameson said.

“After about 10, 12 minutes of using it, along with the medications and everything else, it had actually got blood flowing back to her heart well enough that it started beating again on its own,” he said.