Williamsburg Fire Department Receives Grants for Gear Extractor, Live Training

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The Williamsburg Fire Department received more than $49,000 in grants this fiscal year to help better train its employees and provide better service in fire-related incidents.

Among the grants the department received was a $31,415 donation from the estate of Jean C. Keating, which the department used to purchase an extractor that will clean firefighters’ gear.

Before the extractor was installed in the city’s fire department on North Boundary Street, firefighters would have to drive to the regional training center in Newport News and use its extractor to clean their pants, jackets, gloves and other gear.

“We are very fortunate to be able to purchase the extractor and have it here,” said Williamsburg Fire Chief Pat Dent, adding the new equipment was recently installed and used for the first time after firefighters put out a house fire off Merrimac Trail in early June. 

From the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company’s Heritage Program, the department received a $9,583 grant for another piece of equipment it was missing — a water vacuum that is used to remove water that accumulates in burning structures from the firfighters’ hose.

The Fireman’s Fund also provided Williamsburg’s firefighters with live burn training sessions. Dent said the $5,417 grant allowed each of the department’s three shifts to go to the regional burn building in Newport News during their days off to practice tactical exercises with live, controlled fires.

Dent said he was grateful for the grants that helped offset the costs to the city, especially since grants are becoming more competitive, particularly for fire departments.

“We’re continually seeking grant funds every day,” he said.