LCRA, Bandera Electric Co-op award $21,120 grant to Concan VFD for new rescue vehicle
Off-road vehicle will help fight wildfires, transport patients across rough terrain
Nov. 8, 2021
UVALDE COUNTY, Texas – A $21,120 Community Development Partnership Program grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative will help the Concan Volunteer Fire Department purchase a new emergency vehicle to transport patients across rugged terrain.
Dick Earnest, president of Concan VFD, said the new off-road utility vehicle will be equipped with a stretcher for use by the department’s six certified medics. A 100-gallon water tank also will be on board, allowing firefighters to take water with them as they fight brush and grass fires in remote areas. The department is contributing $5,780 in matching funds for the project.
The department’s coverage area includes Garner State Park and other stretches along the Frio River, which is popular with tubers and outdoor enthusiasts. While Concan has a permanent population of about 300 residents, more than 30,000 people can visit the area on a summer day, Earnest said.
“Our biggest thing is rescuing people out of the river, and usually you have to go through some rough terrain to get to them,” Earnest said. “We can only bring our truck so far. We’ll be able to take the new unit right down to the river, and it will be a big help transporting injured folks.”
This summer, firefighters made five rescues along the river that called for medics to carry the patients out on foot.
“It would have been really nice to go down there and load them up instead of having to carry them up,” he said. “Carrying a 200-pound person for hundreds of yards – that’s a challenge. With a vehicle, we probably would have saved 15 to 20 minutes per call.”
Earnest said carrying water on the smaller vehicle could help stop some fires from spreading.
“If you spread it out right, a 100-gallon water tank will do an amazing amount of good on a lot of those grass fires that are impossible to get to right now,” he said.
Earnest said the 20-member department, founded in 1991, is excited about improving its rescue operations by adding a new vehicle.
“We’re a pretty tightly budgeted department, and we’ve been counting on this grant and dreaming of it,” he said. “This is going to be a great help to us.”
The community grant is one of 32 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. Bandera Electric Cooperative 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.