2013-04-17 07:27:03 - Volunteers, Donors Step Up To Ensure Public Safety During Natural Disasters
Thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers, Atascadero Fire Department’s Disaster Response Trailer is now in the final stages of completion.
Organizers are expecting the all-volunteer project to be completed within the next two months. Fundraising efforts began roughly two years ago with an estimated 100 donors and partners who are helping bring the project to fruition. In addition to private donations, roughly $30,000 in grant funding secured through the Department of Homeland Security is also funding the purchase of an emergency generator, according to Atascadero Fire Captain Matt Miranda.
“More than 100 partners came together, and we exceeded our $100,000 fundraising goal,” says Miranda. “Without the contributions from the community, this project very simply wouldn’t be possible. It’s all because
our community stepped up to the plate.”
The department topped its original fundraising goal for a total of an estimated $130,000, department officials said. Meanwhile, department has added capabilities to the original scope of the project, making it “much more capable and useful,” Miranda says.
The response vehicle is made up of two main parts — a repurposed wildland fire vehicle from the department and a donated 32-foot trailer. The trailer’s 16 bays need to be stocked with emergency response tools such as decontamination supplies, concrete cutting saws, an entry torch and dozens of other items. It will also carry the lumber and power tools needed for firefighters to build structural braces at disaster scenes. The tools will aid firefighters in preventing structures from crumbling onto victims or rescuers, Miranda said.
According to Miranda, the new emergency response trailer features a full gamut of specialty tools and equipment for the department to use in the case of a major disaster, enhancing public safety for the city of Atascadero.
“It’s a rolling resource of tools,” Miranda says.
The venture would not be possible without the generous donations of community members such as
B. Wayne Hughes Jr., who donated funds for the Communications Bay, the most important of the bays, Miranda says. “When communications go down and out, it doesn’t matter how equipped we are – we can’t accomplish the safety goals without communication.” The Communication Bay costs $5,200 and is one compartment within the 16-bay trailer. It takes care of all the radios, antennas, wiring, batteries, so they can have communications while out in the field.
A handful of local residents and private donors have partnered to support the project since its unveiling on Sept. 11, 2012. The Atascadero Wine Festival Committee was the first to step forward with a $2,500 donation during the $50,000 in 50 days campaign, organizers said. Other partners include PG&E, who presented $25,000 toward the project. Project sponsors include Rabobank, Santa Lucia Bank, K-Mart, The Home Depot, American Commercial Equities, Bernards Builders and Management Services, JK Unlimited, Atascadero Rotary and 911 Supply House.
Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley says, “Our Fire Department has done a wonderful job of putting this Disaster Response Trailer together and could not have done it without the generosity of our great community. We are very proud of our Fire Department and the community we live in.”
Miranda says, “This project is definitely one-of-a-kind for this area. You would have to go all of the way to Ventura to see something that would probably come close to matching up to this. There are other rescue apparatus in the area that provide response capabilities to technical incidents - but nothing of this scope.”
For more information about the Atascadero Fire Department and Disaster Response Trailer, visit www.atascadero.org. For press inquiries, contact AR & Co. PR & Marketing at (805) 239-4443 or firstname.lastname@example.org