Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled... Firefighting Gear?
This week, the Foundation presented the Cedar Park Fire Department (CPFD) with a grant of $20,000 worth of wildland firefighting gear. The grant was matched by the City of Cedar Park, allowing the fire department to purchase 60 sets of the specialized clothing.
According to CPFD Chief James Mallinger, the impetus for the department's request for the grant was 2011's Bastrop County Complex Fire. Like most other area agencies, CPFD sent personnel and equipment to help fight that wildfire, the most destructive of its kind in Texas history. Working in the already brutal Labor Day heat, Cedar Park firefighters faced an extra challenge from the very equipment designed to protect them. At that time, CPFD's wildfire gear was worn in two layers, with special wildland-specific shirts and pants on top of normal station uniforms. While this double dose of shielding protected crews from being singed by flames, it also prevented their bodies from shedding heat, thus subjecting them to a significant risk of heat exhaustion.
The department's new yellow shirts and green pants, however, are designed to be worn as a stand alone set of garments. This lighter ensemble will provide the same or better flame protection that the old gear did, but with less weight and fewer layers. CPFD firefighters will now be able to work for longer periods over greater expanses of terrain with less risk of suffering from a heat stress injury.
McCafferty and Firehouse Subs Area Representative Bill Krassner pointed out that this is actually the second grant from the sandwich shop's Foundation to the Cedar Park Fire Department. In 2006, another pickle bucket-funded grant provided firefighters with a handheld thermal imaging camera (used during emergencies to find hidden fires and victims that are not visible to the naked eye) and a public education trailer (a primary tool in efforts to teach area school children how to prevent and react to emergencies).
All told, public safety agencies in Austin, Cedar Park, and Georgetown have received over $85,000 in similar grants from the Foundation. Krassner beamed, "It's all part of our commitment to our community, and we're proud to do it."
1465 E. Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX, 259-9696
See http://www.firehousesubs.com for other area locations