The Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The $105,445 FEMA AFG grant will be used to purchase new hydraulic extrication tools to replace older low pressure units on the department's heavy rescue vehicle, Rescue Squad 12. These new tools will be used for vehicle extrication, Rapid Intervention Team operations and other technical rescues.
Two new hydraulic pumps will be purchased and installed on each side of Rescue Squad 12 to allow two separate rescue teams to work at an incident.
The new tools will be better suited for today's rescue environment, in which new, harder metal alloys are used in the production of cars and trucks. The tools will be essential in the department's response to vehicle crashes, which have increased 131% since 2017. That number is only expected to increase with growth in the area, and the additional traffic it will bring.
The battery powered hydraulic tools are a high priority for the department due to the growth of light industry where the facilities have a large steel infrastructure. These tools are essential for quick access through steel doors without having to resort to saws, torches and other equipment that creates a multitude of sparks, flames or fumes.
The Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department is grateful for the grant assistance provided by FEMA, and for the ever-present local support provided by area residents.