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Powhatan Point Fire Department receives $15,000 for protective gear

T-L Photo/J.D. LONG The Powhatan Point Fire Department became the recipient of Energy Transfer’s First Responder’s Fund in the amount of $15,000, as the department showed off the customary check Monday evening at the Powhatan firehouse. Pictured, from left, are Chris Koop, public affairs specialist for Energy Transfer; Brian Schafer, operations manager for Energy Transfer; Fire Chief Josh Cooper; firefighter Jake Heslap; firefighter and former chief Tom Nelms; and Capt. Chortney Harman.

POWHATAN POINT — Another energy company has come forward with a generous donation in the name of Energy Transfer for $15,000, which was given to Powhatan Point Fire Department in a ceremony at the firehouse Monday evening.

According to Public Affairs Specialist Chris Koop, ET is one of the largest pipeline companies in the United States consisting of 114,000 miles of pipeline that run across 41 states. The grant, which Koop said is given biannually, is to supply the PPFD with protective gear for its first responders.

The gear, or SCBA, stands for Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and it doesn’t take much to eat up $15,000.

One bottle lasts 45 minutes but a tank is good for 20 years of durability. PPFD was able to buy two tanks and masks with two backup tanks.

Koop said ET has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and has made it a priority in working with local first responders, such as PPFD. A plant consisting of two compressor stations is located close by in Switzerland Township and Koop said one of the qualifiers for the fund is a first responder’s close proximity to their work, and PPFD fit the bill.

“I’d like to thank Energy Transfer for the grant,” Cooper said, where he added that the equipment will be a “great asset to the department.”

Koop noted when it comes to government assistance and how many fire departments are either all voluntary or at least partially such as PPFD, the effort for government support has become “austere” and certainly not getting any larger. Koop said the fund was established in 2016 and not only PPFD’s close proximity to ET’s plant but the strength of their grant writing is what sealed it for them.

“They’re under constant strain to provide equipment,” he said of places like PPFD. That’s when they decided to put together this fund so as to help local fire departments in hopes of contributing to “communities and their success.”

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