Grant aids Murfreesboro firemen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

MURFREESBORO – Grant writing can be a dauntless task, especially if you’re attempting to fish through piles of paperwork, but thanks to the generosity of Carolina Computers, Murfreesboro Fire Department’s days of swimming amidst mountains of paperwork are over.

The gift comes as a result of a letter sent to the company by firefighter David Jacobs, requesting assistance in providing the department with a computer to help facilitate its grant writing process.

Jacobs explained that since 9/11, fire departments across America have been seeking financial help from the Government and private institutions through grants, many of which were inaccessible or unattainable to the volunteer department without the use of the internet.

&uot;In the past, the grant process was conducted through the mail, but with advancements in technology the process has become more web based,&uot; said Jacobs.

However, with new advancements come new guidelines.

According to Jacobs, most FEMA grants that are awarded require the departments to strictly abide by specific stipulations, one of which is that the departments send all activity reports to the National Insurance Reporting Agency for data collection, which itself is web based.

&uot;Everything is facilitated via computer, from the grant process to accessing information in a national database to inquiring about the number of fires in an area,&uot; said Jacobs.

But, with the increasing cost of operation coupled by this year’s budget cuts, the department didn’t have the funds to purchase the equipment it needed to help them compete for grant monies.

&uot;When we saw the need expressed by our local fire department to have a product we specialize in, it was only logical that we should help give back to our community,&uot; said Carolina Computers’ regional manager Brian Clapp who custom built the department’s new system.

The new computer is complete with internet capability and an office package that will help the department store personnel and equipment records in addition to technical support.

&uot;This is a much-needed piece of equipment,&uot; said Murfreesboro Fire Chief Billy Deans. &uot;Many grantors won’t even accept paper applications anymore because they prefer email, so we were very limited.&uot;

Now that the department has a computer to perform its grant queries, things will be different.

&uot;Through the grants, our department has a greater chance of obtaining funds that will help provide our volunteer firefighters with the latest equipment and technology that will keep them safer in the field,&uot; said Jacobs.

&uot;This gift will not only help our department to stay current in the field, but ensure a higher level of service and safety to the citizens of Murfreesboro and the Murfree Fire District, which is our desire.&uot;