"We're 35 unpaid firefighters that are serving the community with $600 million of assessed value, 79 square miles and about 9,000 residents," said John Lam, deputy chief of the Alvaton Fire Department.
Now though with grant assistance from the National Homeland Security office, the Alvaton Volunteer Fire Department can better serve their community. The grant money will go to equipment that is meant to protect firefighters while in the line of duty.
"We're going to be buying new breathing air packs. We'll be getting new rescue packs and upgrading existing air packs. We'll also be obtaining equipment that'll be used for gas monitoring," Lam said.
This is the second time in three years that the fire department was able to secure national funding.
Lam also said getting money like this is so important because of the lack of some funding for volunteer fire stations.
"Our funding is through a number of things. There is funding that comes from fiscal court, from the state, but most of our funding comes from dues that are collected on property taxes that are collected by the sheriff's department for property owners in our fire district," Lam said.
Last year alone, Alvaton fire crews made 534 runs. This year, the fire department is already at 400 runs for the year and is expected to bypass last year's total.
Lam said that receiving financial support from the federal government validates the volunteer job they do.
"It makes us feel very good and confident that we have the support we need to move forward and be progressive," Lam said.
The Alvaton Fire Department said it plans to provide matching funds of five percent to the Homeland Security grant.