The following story first appeared in the June 2 North Ridgeville Press

A pair of grants totaling more than $920,000 will be used to enhance services provided by the North Ridgeville Fire Department, as well as those offered by the Central Dispatch Group based at St. John Medical Center in Westlake.

North Ridgeville will receive $126,297 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program, while the Westlake Fire Department has been awarded $796,494 to benefit the Central Dispatch Group, of which North Ridgeville is a member, along with Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake.

“We applied in May of last year for the grant,” Mayor Dave Gillock said Thursday. “At fire station No. 2 on Lorain Road, it’s difficult a lot of times for cars, especially traveling westbound, to see if an engine is coming out. We’ve had some close calls.

“We want to put up a light of some sort there. I think I like the idea of a flashing yellow light. Then when you hit the siren, it turns red, which would give us the ability to get out more safely. It’s a big truck, and it takes up a lot of room on the road.”

U.S. Senator George Voinovich announced the grant recipients through a press release issued last Wednesday.

“Our firefighters must have the proper resources to protect their communities,” Voinovich said, “and these grants will provide much-needed assistance for the state’s hardworking fire departments.”

Gillock said his administration had been waiting for quite a while to hear if its mission for federal money was a success.

“We’re part of the Westlake award, too,” he explained. “That’s through our Central Dispatch. They’re going to put mobile data terminals and vehicle locators in all the trucks. They’ll know exactly where all our trucks are.”

He laughed when adding that the city’s grant writers “seem to be good at this.”

“We’re really excited about this grant,” Gillock said. “The other part of the $126,000 is for cleaning the turnout gear, the heavy gear (i.e. specially designed protective clothing worn by firefighters and designed to withstand fire and other extreme situations). The new equipment will wash and dry them.

“You can’t take turnout gear and put it in a washing machine or dryer. This will help us maintain that stuff better.”

He concluded by emphasizing the importance of the traffic signal for North Ridgeville residents.

“It’s a safety situation that we’re going to be able to take care of,” Gillock said. “This is good news for North Ridgeville; we’re really happy about it.”

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