Ky. fire dept. receives grant for smoke detectors, AEDs

Officials said the grant is a great way to be able to provide smoke detectors to those who need them most and promote fire safety

By Melinda J. Overstreet
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW, Ky. — The Glasgow Fire Department, with funding from Diversicare Healthcare Services’ local nursing and rehabilitation facility, will be giving away approximately four dozen smoke alarms to members of the community who need them.

The grant is one of a few momentous occasions for the department this year.

Jason Gumm, administrator, and Yvonne Martin, marketing coordinator, both with Glasgow’s Diversicare location, delivered a symbolic check for $500 to fire Chief Tony Atwood on Friday morning and said he could expect the actual check in a week or so.

Gumm said the company, which now owns what was the Barren County Health Care Center, has a Neighborhood Impact Plan through which it looks for ways it can help the local community.

“We got in touch with the Glasgow Fire Department and they said that there was a need for smoke detectors for people who could not afford them or maybe who don’t have the means to have them in their homes ...,” Gumm said. “We’re happy to support them and we certainly appreciate all they do for us and the community.”

Martin said the Neighborhood Impact Plan was developed this year in recognition that communities grow stronger when organizations come together and address the issues affecting their residents. Helping neighbors also helps Diversicare practice its mission, core values and service standards outside the company’s care centers. All NIP grant recipients are nonprofit organizations or agencies.

Atwood said the department appreciated Diversicare’s vision to be able to reach back out to its community and give back.

He said this is a great way for to be able to provide smoke detectors to those who need them most and promote fire safety.

The chief said he believes they can buy the alarms for roughly $10 each, so this would be enough money to hopefully purchase 50 of them.

“If one of these detectors can make a difference, we think it’s money well spent,” Atwood said. “We’re going to reach out to the community. … We would like for those who don’t have a smoke detector to jump on the bandwagon and give us a call. The only things we’re going to require is your name and your address.”

He said they would let people know when they actually are available to be picked up and, if necessary, the department would deliver them.

Smoke alarms do a very good job at alerting residents to smoke, when they are placed in the right spot, Atwood said. Very few fire-related fatalities are from fire itself but rather caused by smoke.

The fire department is also in the process of spending money it got from another grant, this one from the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security, Atwood said. Although the notification came a few months ago, working through all of the administrative details took some time, but six automated external defibrillators have been ordered and should arrive any day now, the chief said.

The grant was for $13,950 and required no matching funds, but the department had to get three price quotes, and the lowest of those was for $13,505.94 from QuadMed.

GFD has had AEDs on each of its trucks, Atwood said, but they are all getting old and two of them have stopped working, so this will allow all of them to be replaced. Being able to respond quickly and administering early defibrillation combined creates a really good chance for saving lives, he said, but the equipment has to be reliable.

Atwood gave kudos to Carol Taylor, the department’s administrative assistant since April, for her help getting the grant. He learned she had experience with grant applications at her prior job in the administrative offices at Western Kentucky University’s Glasgow campus.

“Carol did a great job of writing the grant [application] and the narratives,” he said.

AEDs are used to send a pulse of electricity across the heart to restore its normal rhythm when a patient has no pulse but still has some degree of heart beat the AED can detect. It actually tells the emergency responder using it whether it’s appropriate to use it, Atwood said. It won’t restart the heart if it has completely stopped.

“It’s extremely rewarding,” he said of being able to revive someone in that manner, “but without that piece of equipment, we’re extremely limited.”

Citing information from the website for a company called Vfibs, which offers classes on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of AEDs, Atwood said that less than 8 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive. Effectively administered CPR can boost that survival rate within the range of 15 percent to 24 percent, and CPR with an AED puts the survival-rate range to 49 percent to 74 percent. If an AED is used in the first minute, the survival rate is 90 percent.

The chance of survival is reduced by 7 percent to 10 percent with every passing minute without CPR or AED assistance, Atwood said, and permanent brain death begins after four to six minutes.

“Time is everything in what we do,” he said, adding that that’s why he’s been advocating for a third fire station.

An extensive study performed by an Eastern Kentucky University professor and one of his classes to try to determine the best place for a third station based on projections for the next 20 years was completed, and the report delivered a few months ago. The best location was identified as being in the vicinity of southern Beaver Trail near Ky. 90. The “great analysis” also made recommendations for several other steps the department could take to improve operations in the meantime, such as updates for the standard operating procedures, communications trainings and water-supply considerations, and Atwood said the department is working on those and is probably through roughly 75 percent of them. He said it likely will take a few more months to complete them.

The building that houses the fire and emergency communications departments also got a new roof in 2016, after years of experiencing leaks that caused worry that electronic equipment, in particular, would be jeopardized.

“It’s awesome,” Atwood said. “It’s pretty nice to have a roof that actually works. I’m glad.”

Copyright 2016 the Glasgow Daily Times

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