FROM STAFF REPORTS
BERTRAM — After suffering through many days and nights under a bad roof, Bertram Volunteer Fire Department crews as well as residents seeking refuge in storms, will have a new roof over their heads thanks to a Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative grant.
The grant also covers the cost of four automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
LCRA and PEC officials stopped by Bertram VFD on May 23 to present Chief Bobby Huffstuttler with the $44,950 grant. The department and Burnet County Emergency Services District No. 4 kicked in $10,000 in matching funds.
The grant, part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, will help the volunteer fire department fix the roof on the more than 100-year-old fire station.
“During bad storms, the fire station is a place people come,” Huffstuttler said. “The new roof covering will ensure that the people seeking refuge from the elements will have a safe, dry place to ride out the storm.”
The new roof will be insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs and reduce the chance of dangerous molds and mildew creeping into the station via water leaks.
“The repair of the roof will allow us to keep our lifesaving equipment in top-notch condition without having to worry about water leaks,” the chief said. “Without the grant, it likely would have taken us several years to get the needed funding to complete these projects.”
The grant also allows the department to purchase an AED for every truck, which adds to the safety of not only the public but the firefighters as well. Huffstuttler pointed out that the leading cause of death for a firefighters at the scene of an emergency is cardiac arrest associated with overexertion. Plus, with an AED on each vehicle, crews will have access to the lifesaving device no matter which truck is on the scene.
“We often have multiple calls at the same time that could require an AED,” Huffstuttler added. “By having them on all of our trucks, the community is better protected. The odds of survival are greatly increased by early defibrillation during cardiac arrest.”
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the grant program is designed to help community projects across the LCRA service territory.
“We’re lending a hand to the communities we serve in a tangible way,” he said. “Without the grant, these volunteer firefighters would have to wait years to be able to house their valuable equipment in a safe and dry environment.”
Electric cooperative CEO Julie Parsley agreed.
“We are proud to be part of the Bertram community,” she said. “Like our partners at LCRA, we believe in helping the communities we serve because many of our employees are your neighbors, too.”
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. Go to lcra.org/cdpp for more information.