News-Herald Staff Writer

SCIO – More than $230,000 is coming to the Scio Volunteer Fire Department to add another vehicle to its safety fleet.

The department will receive $237,500 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to equip the site with a new tanker truck that will replace an outdated vehicle. Fire Chief Roger Bethel said plans were still in the works to create specifications and obtain bids, but he hoped to have the new truck on the road this year.

“As soon as we get the specs out and hear from the contractors, we will decide what to do. We’ve been working on it the last couple of days,” Bethel said. “We’re actually replacing our homemade tanker from 1978. It doesn’t meet National Fire Protection Association requirements. It was pieced together from a couple of different trucks.”

He said it could take three to nine months before a new vehicle is on-site, but he hoped to have it by the end of the year.

“I’m very excited about it. I’m glad we are getting a tanker off the road that shouldn’t be on it.”

It is not the first time the Scio VFD benefitted from an AFG grant. Most recently, it gained $95,000 allocation to purchase 18 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus kits with an airpack, two bottles, a basepiece and 11 additional facepieces. Bethel said some of the crew’s equipment was 18 years old, while the new kits were the same ones used by neighboring departments.

About $574,224 was awarded to fire departments in northeast Ohio through the program. The funds can be used for vehicle acquisition as well as operational and safety equipment updates.

According to FEMA, the Assistance to Firefighter Grants are used to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. Since 2001, nearly $4 billion in grant money has been awarded to first responder organizations.