The Volente Volunteer Fire Department soon will have equipment to clean firefighters' protective suits in-house, thanks to a $16,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
The grant, along with $4,000 in local matching funds, will allow the department to purchase washer-extractor equipment to clean firefighters' personal protective equipment, making the gear safe to use again and allowing it to be returned to service more quickly.
Firefighters wear personal protective suits to shield them from heat, toxic substances and contaminants at fires and rescue scenes. The suits cannot be laundered in home machines due to the contaminants, but sending the protective suits to a certified cleaner costs about $135 a suit and takes the gear out of service for four to five days.
"Volente firefighters have to be ready to respond to emergencies at a moment's notice," said Walter Groman, Volente VFD fire chief. "This grant will allow us to have our gear back in service much quicker as it reduces turnaround time from outside providers."
Volente VFD serves about 1,800 residents in Travis County Emergency Services District 14, which includes the Village of Volente and the adjacent areas of northwest Travis County on the eastern shores of Lake Travis.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA's Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA's electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA's effort to give back to the communities it serves. PEC is one of LCRA's wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants are due Jan. 31. 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; ensuring a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the 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