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Posted on: January 21, 2020

Grants help local first-responder agencies purchase new emergency response equipment

Swift-water rescue equipment spread out across a table

Two local fire departments will be better equipped to respond to water-related emergencies along the Yuba River with the help of funding from Yuba Water Agency.

Marysville Fire Department - $100,000

This $100,000 grant will provide half of the funding needed to help the department purchase a small, “quick-attack” vehicle that is capable of accessing river bottom off-road terrain and roadways to patrol levees and support water-rescue efforts.  Currently, existing vehicles, such as a traditional fire engine, cannot access this area.  

“Right now, we don’t have a four-wheel-drive vehicle capable of doing anything near the river-bottom areas, so this vehicle will really provide us the opportunity to do a better, more efficient job,” said Marysville Fire Department Chief Ron Karlen. “We also anticipate staffing this truck 24-7, so it’s not going to be a resource that just sits. It will get a lot of use.” 

The department is responsible for responding to emergencies along the waterways bordering Marysville, but oftentimes, has to wait for boat or aircraft assistance when dealing with incidents in certain areas because they are inaccessible to its current vehicles. 

The new rig will be a four door, four-wheel-drive truck that can seat four personnel while traveling through rugged terrain, and will be equipped with various response equipment including:

  • Tank, pump and hose for fire suppression

  • Swift-water rescue equipment 

  • Light-weight extrication equipment

  • High-powered lighting with infrared capability

  • Small agriculture pump for evacuating water from flooded areas

  • Tools for vegetation management

“This is a great example of Yuba Water helping the local community in a really tangible way, while leveraging other funding to make our dollars go even further,” said Mike Leahy, Yuba Water Agency director and county supervisor for the district that includes the city of Marysville.   

Loma Rica/Browns Valley Community Services District - $10,000

This grant will fund swift-water rescue equipment for the Loma Rica/Browns Valley Community Services District as part of Yuba Water Agency’s Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grant Program.   

The new gear, which includes dry suits and on- and off-shore rescue equipment, will be used by the district’s first-responders when conducting emergency rescues along the Yuba River and at New Bullards Bar Reservoir as part of its mutual aid commitments. The current equipment is outdated and in need of replacement. 

The Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grant Program, which was created in 2018, is designed for first-responder agencies in Yuba County and will cover the one-time costs of up to $10,000 per applicant annually, associated with the purchase of rescue equipment and specialized personnel training. Since its inception, the program has supported 15 agencies with $188,500 in grants.  

Yuba Water Agency is able to help fund these two public safety grants because the funds will be used to provide emergency services for people recreating along the Yuba River and during high-water events.

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