Local first responders receive state grant funds

Local emergency medical services and fire departments were recently awarded grant money through the state.

The funding is distributed through the Pa. Office of Fire Commissioner within the Pa. Emergency Management Agency and is to be used towards new equipment.

The Birdsboro-Union Fire Department received an amount of $26,807 from the grant. According to Ken Long, an 11-year volunteer at Birdsboro-Union said this will allow the department the “to purchase 10 sets of gear (coats and pants) and 1,500 ft. of hose.”

Fire departments survive through municipal funding and donations, so funding from the state is always appreciated.


In 2010, Friendship and Kulptown Fire Companies consolidated to form Birdsboro-Union. Long stated that the merger saved both fire departments and would recommend a consolidation for other companies leaning towards this option as a way of survival.

Exeter Township Volunteer Fire Department received an amount of $27,239 from the grant. “All of the funds will be used for turnout gear,” Chief Robert Jordan said. With the funds from the state, the department will be able to buy 12 to 14 sets of outerwear gear for their volunteers; boots, helmets, bunker pants, coasts, and gloves. Chief Jordan stated that the gear has a lifespan of 10 years and thanked Governor Corbett and the Pa. Office of Fire Commissioner for providing funding for the gear that needs to be replaced.

Southern Berks EMS Executive Director Malcolm Cole said he is “grateful” that the EMS received funding as well. Southern Berks EMS was allocated $6,704 of the grant funds.

With the grant, Southern Berks EMS will equip their 10 ambulances with additional lifesaving equipment. “We will use the money to purchase backboards and straps, batteries and changers for the LIFEPAK monitors, and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines, which assist with emergency management of congestive heart failure. A distribution of the equipment will be provided throughout all three of the EMS stations located in Birdsboro, Reading and Douglassville.

Other local departments, Monarch Fire Co. #1 and Amity Fire Company, both received $13,619 in grant money.