By Tony Hallett
HOWLAND – Fire Chief Josh McNally has a lot of experience applying for grants, including how difficult it is to get awarded funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I have applied the last four years,” he said during a Tuesday interview.
That was why he was both surprised, and happy, to learn last week his department will be awarded $5,000 to purchase much needed fire hose.
“This is the first time, to my knowledge, the town of Howland has received the FEMA grant.” he said.
The money comes at an opportune time for the firefighters. Recently, during a state-mandated annual hose test, 1,000 feet of large diameter, or four inch, hose, failed to meet standards and had to be discarded. Much of the hose, McNally explained, was between 25 and 30 years old.
“it is the most expensive hose,” McNally said, explaining it cost $5 per foot. It is also some of the most critical equipment on the truck, as it is used to pump water from either a hydrant or from another tanker. Every fire apparatus in Howland’s fleet carries 1,000 feet of large diameter hose.
“We are luck to have gotten the grant,” he said. “Very few departments get FEMA grants.”
Passadumkeag was one of the local departments to have received federal funding before it was disbanded this past summer. The town’s tanker, now being leased by Howland, was purchased with federal money along with its air compressor.
In 2018, 8,406 applications were submitted for federal money, with 2,085 of those being for new vehicles.