LCRA awards $16,580 grant to Mathis Volunteer Fire Department
New gear will provide protective equipment for every firefighter in the department
Oct. 25, 2022
MATHIS, Texas – The Mathis Volunteer Fire Department will be able to purchase 20 new sets of protective gear for its firefighters, thanks to a $16,580 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $4,400 in matching funds from the city, will provide the City of Mathis money to purchase a new set of dual-certified gear for each of the 20 Mathis VFD firefighters. The volunteer department is the only fire department in Mathis and currently has only 14 sets of structural gear.
“We don’t have enough fire protection gear to accommodate everyone,” Fire Chief Adrian Ramirez said. “This is a challenge, as we need volunteers for our increasing call volume.”
In 2021, Mathis VFD received more than 190 calls, up from 95 in 2019. Over the last two years, the department has seen a surge in wildland fire calls, which now account for about 45% of the department’s calls.
Because of the lack of gear, some volunteers currently are not able to fight fires or help extricate trapped victims, Ramirez said.
“We have a couple guys that don’t have gear that fits, so we keep them out of the fires and on the trucks, driving or operating,” Ramirez said.
The department’s current gear is eight years old and isn’t the best type for most emergency responses.
“Structural gear is heavier, bulkier and hinders your range of motion and flexibility,” Ramirez said. “The guys get fatigued faster wearing the structural gear.”
The new gear will be dual-certified, which means it is suitable for use in both fighting fires and extrications, and is much lighter than traditional gear. It is designed to reduce heat stress, fatigue and the spread of harmful carcinogens, and allows for more movement during wildland firefighting and vehicular extrication.
Ramirez said thanks to the grant, all volunteer firefighters will be equipped with the proper protective gear and will be able to respond to the community’s needs.
“It’s something that I’ve always told the guys – ‘just keep coming, keep bearing with us, we’ll get new gear soon,’” Ramirez said. “I promised this to them, and it finally came true. I’m truly ecstatic and thankful that it happened.”
Mathis VFD serves Mathis, Lake City and Lakeside, and offers mutual aid to Bee, Jim Wells, Nueces, Refugio, Aransas and Live Oak counties.
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.
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.