LCRA Awards grant to Weslaco Fire Department for rescue tools

A $4,825 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will pay for new rescue tools to assist the City of Weslaco Fire Department in responding to emergencies.
The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are Florentino Vela, captain; Sheila Slagel, LCRA grants program manager; Martin Garza, Interim City Manager; Antonio Lopez, Fire Chief; Maggie Perez, Grant Writer; Richard Stubbs, Captain; and Gustavo Ramirez, Assistant Fire Chief.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant will allow the department to purchase forcible entry equipment for a new firetruck and additional tools to complete toolkits used by the department’s four companies.
“We currently borrow from other trucks or wait for a second truck to arrive with the equipment,” said Fire Chief Antonio Lopez. “That slows down our response time and takes away from that firetruck assisting elsewhere.”  
The department will add axes, pry tools, wrench kits, extrication tools and a new two-man hose roller.
Forcible entry equipment is the first line of defense in firefighting. The rescue tools help penetrate walls, windows, floors and even roofs, allowing quick access to buildings and vehicles to rescue anyone trapped inside.
“By having the equipment readily available, it will enable first responders to quickly enter buildings and sites that would otherwise suffer great damages to infrastructure and civilians,” said Maggie Perez, the city’s grant writer.
The City of Weslaco Fire Department serves the growing communities of Weslaco and Progreso in Hidalgo County. It offers mutual aid to neighboring communities and assists in statewide responses when needed.
“The first time this new equipment rolls on to a scene will be very important,” Lopez said. “It could save someone’s life.”
The community grant is one of 46 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.