KEMPNER, Texas – A $24,200 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative will help provide new battery-operated extrication tools for the Kempner Volunteer Fire Department.
The grant, along with matching funds of $6,232 from the Kempner VFD, will allow the department to acquire updated, state-of-the-art extrication tools, or Jaws of Life, to improve its life-saving efforts in the field. Right now, the department’s rescue tools are powered by 150-foot hydraulic hoses attached to an engine or rescue truck. The hoses tether first responders to their vehicles, can create additional hazards at the scene and have limited reach.
The new tools will replace ones that are 15 years old and sometimes have trouble cutting through the stronger metal used to build newer vehicles.
“Our response area is largely comprised of winding rural roads and one busy four-lane highway,’’ said Lt. Frank Potter of the Kempner VFD, which was founded in 1972 and covers 108 square miles. “Many emergencies to which we respond involve vehicles that miss a curve and careen well off the paved surface area, putting them out of reach of our engines and the hydraulic tools we carry.
“The battery-operated tools we can purchase with this grant will not only be a critical time-saver, but they will also allow more flexibility and maneuverability when conducting extrication operations,” he said.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted from Jan. 1-31, 2020. More information is available at
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit
About Pedernales Electric Cooperative
Founded in 1938 by then-Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson, PEC is a member-owned electric cooperative serving more than 325,000 accounts across Central Texas. An industry-recognized leader providing outstanding member service and reliable electricity, PEC conducts its business via a transparent and democratic process and highly encourages member participation.