West Lake Limestone Volunteer Fire Department accepted a $20,000 grant from the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program. The grant was used to purchase a slip-on unit that was installed on a 5-ton excess military truck received through the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program.
Both programs are administered by the Texas A&M Forest Service.
“The truck and the slip-on unit are replacing an older, maintenance-troubled truck that the department built many years ago,” said West Lake Limestone VFD Fire Chief Allen McWhirter. “The new truck will take the older truck’s number. We appreciate having a vehicle equipped with a slip-on unit that includes a 500-gallon water tank and has foam capability.”
A slip-on unit is designed to become a fast, initial-attack firefighting unit. It is used in wildland firefighting as well as structure and auto fires and is a complete, self-contained firefighting apparatus designed for a pickup truck or custom-built vehicle platform.
According to McWhirter, the primary use of this truck will be to knock down grass fires.
“Our department is grateful for the funding that is available to us through the local Emergency Service District and Texas A&M Forest Service,” McWhirter said. “Texas A&M Forest Service provided the truck and the $20,000 grant and ESD #2 provided funding to complete the response truck by adding radios, emergency lighting, LED scene lights and bumper sprayers.”
The department will receive training on driving and operating a military vehicle and looks forward to the increased capacity to protect life and property in the community and 100-square-mile protection area, he said.