By Greg Bird
The McCreary County Ambulance Service has been awarded a $15,000 grant through Homeland Security to purchase new lift chairs for ambulances.
The grant was revealed Tuesday as part of a major release from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KHOS) announcing nearly $3 million in grants for emergency services across the commonwealth.
“Ensuring the safety and protection of Kentucky’s citizens, property and resources is of paramount importance,” said Governor Matt Bevin in the announcement. “Therefore, we take a very deliberative approach to the annual Homeland Security Grant process. Our KOHS team has carefully evaluated each application and allocated funding on the basis of most critical need.”
For the 2019 federal fiscal year, KOHS will administer $2,869,600 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to city and county governments, fire protection districts and area development districts to purchase first responder equipment, communications equipment and critical infrastructure protection.
The press release stated the 2018 grant process was extremely competitive. For the current grant cycle, KOHS received 269 applications requesting nearly $17 million, nearly six times the available funds. The 50 grants awarded Tuesday will be spread across 36 Kentucky counties.
EMS Director Jimmie Barnett said the grant will go toward the purchase of lift chairs that will aid first responders in lifting patients safely up or down stairs, or in hazardous terrain. He said the chairs were specifically designed to navigate tight spaces, and would also help protect emergency personnel from potential back injuries.
He had also applied for funding for additional equipment, such as lift board with the grant application, but will seek other methods of funding to try to purchase the materials.
Over the past 7 years the McCreary County Ambulance Service and 911 Center have been recipients of nearly $1 million in grants.
Barnett said he and Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney keep a constant eye out for grant opportunities.
“We want to take every opportunity we can to improve our equipment and service for the people of McCreary County,” he said. “We have been very fortunate to have been awarded these grants over the years. We are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to providing the best possible service to the people of McCreary County.”
Over Barnett’s term as Director he has been awarded over $977,000 in grants through various programs. The funds have been used to purchase new ambulances, heart monitors, radio and CAD systems, and other equipment.
He added the department has applied for other grant opportunities that have yet to be announced and is hopeful that the applications will be successful.