Grants add special equipment for Sycamore firefighters

Tools will help in demonstrations, rescue situations

SYCAMORE – Grants totaling $13,000 will help the Sycamore Fire Department save lives more efficiently and educate the public.

The department will use a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund to purchase tools to rescue workers trapped in farm and industrial equipment, according to a department news release. Rescuers need hand and power tools, such as cutting torches, to safely disengage workers from the equipment, Sycamore Fire Chief Peter Polarek said during a City Council meeting May 20.

“It will increase both the speed in which we can remove the patient and, hopefully, their survivability and minimize pain and suffering,” Polarek said at the meeting.

An additional $3,000 grant from Country Financial will go toward the purchase of a flame generator the department can use for safety demonstrations, Sycamore firefighter Ian Wheeler said. The propane-fueled generator will provide a clean and contained fire demonstrators can use to teach fire extinguisher safety to employees of local government agencies and companies.

“In the past, we’ve been able to go into the parking lot and extinguish imaginary fires,” Wheeler said. “We thought this would be the perfect prop to get for these events.”

Since the generator uses propane, it is also an environmentally safe piece of equipment, Polarek said.

“We can provide a fire situation that’s nontoxic, doesn’t leave residue,” Polarek said. “If things go awry, you can shut it off and minimize any risk to participants.”

The department has already ordered the flame generator and it is scheduled to arrive in about four weeks.

“We’re pretty excited about that and look forward to getting the equipment,” Polarek said.