Through a collaborative city effort, the Urbana Fire Division received a $10,000 grant from the State Fire Marshal to purchase equipment for the division. Ohio fire departments serving fewer than 25,000 people were eligible for the $1.1 million in state funding.
The Urbana Fire Division responds to fire and medical emergencies in the city, Urbana Township and parts of Salem and Concord townships. The district includes about 16,000 people and covers approximately 92 square miles.
Fire Chief Dean Ortlieb said a portion of the funding will go toward a thermal imaging camera to be placed in the fire division command vehicle. The camera can be used inside and outside a structure to detect heat and fire.
Remaining funds are earmarked for fire gear specific for the UFD fire training grounds. One of the more expensive courses to attend is live fire attack training, Ortlieb said, adding that such training requires funds for the fire building, equipment and personnel facilitating the training.
“If personnel were scheduled to attend this training in Columbus, the division would be fortunate to send one firefighter off each shift due to cost,” he said. “Thanks to the foresight, creativity and determination of former firefighters, the city now has a fire training ground here in Urbana.”
The facility is administered by certified Urbana Firefighter Live Fire Instructors. Last year when UFD brought on probationary recruits, UFD personnel on multiple days participated in live fire attack at the training center.
“It is easy to see the benefit of such a training,” Ortlieb said. “Experienced firefighters get to see the capabilities of new recruits and the real-world fire simulation allows all to improve on their own firefighting skills.”
He said live fire attack training is hard on fire gear. This was one of the main reasons the grant was pursued, enabling the preservation of daily turnout gear and the purchase of gear specific for fire training.
“The Urbana Fire Division is much more than a 9-1-1 response team,” Ortlieb said. “It is a full-service EMS and fire division committed to helping the people they serve. To be a full-service organization we must exhaust all resources to find ways to fund initiatives important to the division.
“UFD C Shift Commander Capt. (Chad) Countryman and his crew were behind the development and writing of this grant and currently are working on another through the Bureau of Workman’s Compensation,” Ortlieb said. “The thermal imaging camera and training fire gear is expected to be purchased and in service by the end of the summer.”
Submitted by the Urbana Fire Division.