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FEMA grant helps Neb. fire department buy sprinkler safety house

By Adrian Sanchez
The Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS, Neb. — The Columbus Fire Department will have a simulator to educate Columbus and surrounding communities about fire safety following the City Council’s approval Monday of an $82,701 combination sprinkler/fire safety house.

The safety house will be utilizing a 2009 Fire Prevention Safety grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will provide 90 percent of the funding with a 10 percent, $8,280 match from the city.

The sole bid of $82,701 was made by Mobile Concepts Specialty Vehicles of Mt. Pleasant, Pa.

When asked by Councilman Ron Schilling why only one bid was received, Fire Chief Dean Hefti stated two companies had submitted bids, but the other did not have weather packaging, which was part of the bid request.

“There were two bidders, but they produced two different products,” Hefti said. “When we applied for the grant we asked for those kinds of things.”

The 30-foot trailer will be able to simulate weather situations, including tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as a 911 phone system with a call-back feature.

In his memorandum, Hefti noted should the city default on the grant it could disqualify the city from being awarded any future federal grants.

The fire chief said the trailer will be an important educational tool to teach children and adults how to respond in emergency situations.

The trailer is expected to be received 16 weeks after the order is placed and the department can schedule presentations at area schools and businesses.

“This will be another tool to work with children on fire safety,” Hefti said.

Copyright 2009 Columbus Telegram