The Bristol, Virginia Fire Department has some valuable new resources. New backup emergency generators would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, but they were free.
"The federal government came up with a firefighter excess property program which allows designated facilities to ask for equipment,” Fire Chief J.C. Bolling said. “It’s not just an ask-and-receive, it's an ask-and-justify."
It turns out the fire department did not have a backup generator in case of a power outage. "Actually I got three of them,” Bolling added. “One of them goes to the middle school. It is designated as an evacuation shelter as part of the emergency plan for the city, but it has no generator. We were able to pick one up for that and also the southwest Virginia Emergency Medical Services Council."
That facility could be used to relocate a fire station temporarily if the need arises among other uses.
The cost of these generators is huge for the department budget. "Taxpayers demand we run a lean operation,” Bolling pointed out. “It would be foolish on our behalf to go out and buy brand-new $30,000 generators when all we have to do is go to the base and pick it up. Yes, it has 100 hours on it but it is good as new to me. It’s broke in is the only difference."