In only eight years, the equipment used by to detect and take samples of natural gas and carbon monoxide is outdated. The cost to replace it? About $6,000.
While it might not seem like a lot of money for a city the size of Golden Valley, it's just one of many needs facing the fire department.
"Equipment currently in-service is at the age that requires increased repair," said Chief Mark Kuhnly. "Grants are increasingly important during these economic times and budget limitations."
So Deputy Fire Marshal Ed Anderson sent out a grant request, with some help from DeDe Scanlon on the City Council, to a big company located nearby.
Nicholas Ward and his wife recently moved to the Tyrol Hills neighborhood in Golden Valley. , they were at a friend's house. Ward said when they heard about the damage, they drove right home.
"It didn't take us long to get back, but when we did, the Golden Valley Fire Department was already on our block," Ward said.
So when the opportunity to nominate a fire department for a special grant came up at work, Ward immediately thought about the GVFD. Ward works for Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, and its philanthropic arm, the Heritage Program, has awarded more than $28 million in grants to fire departments around the country.
Most of those grants are awarded to rural and volunteer departments, but Ward said Golden Valley isn't just a special case because of his personal experience with the department at his home. Fireman's Fund Insurance is , and it's located in the same building in Golden Valley.
"Whenever we need anything from the fire department—from prevention to an emergency, they're here and they'll be here," Ward said. "And we want to return that favor."
That favor will replace the current equipment firefighters use to monitor conditions whenthey're responding to suspected hazardous material releases. The current equipment still works, but the new equipment will be lighter and easier to use.
"We know that any small advantage we can give these guys in an emergency is huge," Ward said. "Technology moves at a break-neck speed and it's hard for departments to keeps up. We're happy we can help fill in the gap."