LCRA, City of Giddings award $50,000 grant to Giddings Volunteer Fire Department
New brush truck will improve emergency response in Giddings and surrounding area
Nov. 3, 2022
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $115,000 in matching funds from the VFD, will allow the department to better protect people and property in its 156-square-mile service area.
The department operates in south-central Lee County, the most densely populated section of the county, and provides mutual aid to other departments. There are no usable fire hydrants in the rural areas outside of Giddings.
“We’re seeing a lot of new development just like everyone else in the Austin metro-area,” Fire Chief Charlie Brown said. “This year, we had 250 calls. To contrast that, in the 2018-2019 year, that number was 144. It’s an almost straight-line equation of how it’s gone up year after year.”
The grant will allow the department, which has about 35 volunteers, to retire an aging 1997 model firetruck currently in its fleet.
“It doesn’t have air conditioning, so if you can imagine on a 100-degree day after working for a few hours, those guys get back in this hot truck and drive back to the station with no way to cool off at all,” Brown said.
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the new brush truck will help protect both the community and the department’s volunteers.
“This new brush truck will help Giddings VFD firefighters better protect lives and property, as well as keep the firefighters safer while they are on emergency calls,” Wilson said. “These volunteers respond in all kinds of weather to all sorts of emergencies. They put their community’s well-being before their own, and I’m proud that LCRA can support them by helping to provide a reliable, upgraded vehicle to assist in responding to emergencies.”
The need for quick response times is critical, especially as homes are built closer together, as fires can easily move from one structure to the next. The department’s new brush truck will be equipped with a foam system and a 150-foot quick-lay fire hose to assist in fire suppression.
“It injects a firefighting foam into the water stream,” Brown said. “It helps to smother the fire, to take the oxygen away from it, and also helps to cool the area. Because it’s so effective at putting out fires, it really reduces the amount of water that’s required.”
Brown said the new truck will be the first to respond when the department is called out. The modern technology the truck provides will help the department meet current and expected demands of the growing community.
“To be 100 percent honest, there’s no way we could afford to take on this project without the help of the grant,” Brown said. “It’s just great that LCRA and the City of Giddings have teamed up to help all of us in these small rural departments who are really in need of financial help.”
The community grant is one of 46 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. The City of Giddings is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
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 fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.