"It was a system that one of the board members, over a year ago, wanted us to look into," Pinheiro added. "We got prices from several different companies and the cost was between $40,000 and $60,000, that was more than they wanted to spend on it."

So Pinheiro wrote a grant proposal, sent it off, and waited for word. They didn't hear anything until a request for more information last month.

"I got an email about three weeks ago from Washington, D.C., asking if we were still interested in the grant," said Pinheiro. "They wanted a little more information, wanted to know if we were in a flood prone area and would the project affect an historical building."

After providing the requested information, officials got word this week that the grant had been approved.

Announcement of the award came both from the office of Congressman Richard Pombo and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to Pombo's statement, the $40,079 grant will help make the firehouse a safer place for firefighters.

"Our firefighters have a critical mission," Pombo said. "These funds will help ensure our emergency responders have the best equipment possible to protect themselves and the people they serve."

Pinheiro said features of the new exhaust system will mean cleaner air, not only for the department, but for the community as well. With the contaminants filtered out, there will be less diesel soot collecting on the walls of the firehouse, no more diesel fumes for firefighters to breathe in as they do their morning routine starting up the trucks.

"It will be much healthier for us to be in and around the equipment," Pinheiro agreed, with the diesel exhaust venting into the special hoses instead of the air. "It will keep the equipment bay cleaner, we won't have diesel soot everywhere."

The project will cover the six trucks housed at Escalon Fire Station 1 on Coley Avenue. Station 2 on Highway 120 near Van Allen Road is not included in the project at this time.

With just over $40,000 in the grant, Pinheiro said the department will have to come up with the rest of the funds if the project goes over and above that amount. As far as the details of when the grant money will be presented, Pinheiro said officials will get back to him with a firm date later.

The Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program provides funding to help local fire departments purchase firefighting equipment, fund firefighter health and safety programs, enhance emergency medical services and conduct fire education and prevention programs. Funding is administered by the Office of Domestic Preparedness, which is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Escalon and the Waterloo Morada fire departments were the only two departments in Pombo's 11th Congressional District to receive grant awards. Statewide, there were 354 grants awarded, totaling more than $38 million.

Courtesy of Escalon Times

More than $40,000 in grant money has been awarded to the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District, based on a grant written by Assistant Chief Terry Pinheiro. The  money will come from the Federal Firefighters Grant  Program and will be used for purchase and installation  of a new exhaust system.

"It's an exhaust system that actually has hoses that will  attach to the exhaust pipes on the apparatus," Pinheiro  explained. "They are flexible hoses that come down  (from the ceiling) and attach to the exhaust pipe to filter all the contaminants out before the exhaust is dispersed."

The 'Plymovent' system also features a track system so that the trucks stay hooked up to the hose until they leave the station. As the trucks leave the bays on a call, the hose will detach itself and roll back up on the track into the ceiling.
Escalon Fire Receives Grant For New Exhaust System
By Marjorie Jackson
Escalon Times, February 24, 2005