FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved acceptance Tuesday of a Homeland Security grant for $13,500 to buy a rescue strut kit for the fire-rescue department.

The equipment is used to stabilize larger, heavy-duty vehicles, such as buses or tractor trailers, during a rescue extrication, Captain Tim D. Hardy said.

The department has one rescue strut kit it uses for lighter vehicles, but this equipment can lift heavy vehicles up to 10 tons and be used for shoring up a collapsed building or trench, Hardy said.

None of this equipment has been available for response in the local area, Hardy said. With all the large truck traffic, buses and forest and construction vehicles traveling through the area, Hardy explored funding sources.

The new equipment will be housed on the department’s rescue unit, which responds throughout the county and region, according to Hardy. Training to use the equipment is included in the purchase price.

The department is purchasing the equipment from Harrison Shrader Enterprises of Lewiston.

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The fire department needs to first purchase the equipment and will then be fully reimbursed through the grant, Fire Chief Terry Bell said.

Selectmen authorized using the amount from the department’s equipment reserve account, which will be reimbursed when the grant funding is provided.

In other business, Police Chief Jack Peck sought approval to apply and receive grants from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. 

Peck was recently informed that the department was given approval for the grant funds during 2018 if they apply. The funds are used on specific details.

Recognizing the need to curtail distracted driving, the amount available to the department was raised to $14,309.07, he said.

An impaired driving grant will provide $4,655.63 while seat-belt enforcement or the “click it or ticket” program will receive $4,254.24 and speed enforcement will get $4,110.33.

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Selectmen also approved an ongoing $1,000 grant for 2018 to the police department to use on underage-drinking enforcement.

The grant is provided by the Healthy Community Coalition through a Drug Free Communities Grant.

The funds will be used for overtime to allow officers to do these details, Peck said.

Selectmen agreed to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, for their first review of the 2018 departmental budget requests.

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