$15K donation helps fire department get PPE

The Shawano Area Fire Department received a generous donation of $15,000 recently from Little Rapids Corp. and the Egan Family Foundation.

The funds will be utilized to acquire essential tactical gear aimed at safeguarding the lives of firefighters and emergency response personnel during potentially hazardous active shooter situations.

Recognizing the urgent need to enhance the capabilities of their emergency response teams, the fire department has recently participated in active shooter training. The department has been designated as a key component of the emergency response teams tasked with treating and extracting victims during potential active shooter incidents. Given the unique circumstances of the region, where full-time fire and EMS services are not as readily available as in larger cities, the role of the volunteer fire department becomes even more critical to provide adequate manpower and support.

One of the challenges identified in these situations is the need for specialized tactical gear, including body armor and other safety equipment, that would allow firefighters and emergency personnel to enter the scene before it is fully secured, potentially exposing them to active threats. Due to the extraordinary nature of this requirement, these items are not included in the department’s regular operating budget.

Fire Chief Shawn Borlace said he appreciated that the fire department will be able to purchase the personal protective equipment to stay safe during critical incidents.

“The PPE being purchased will not only increase safety for the firefighters, but our community as well,” Borlace said.

Brad Keuschel, who works for Little Rapids Corp. and is a member of the Shawano Area Fire Department, also sees the benefit of the protective gear.

“When the training for these active shooter scenarios came to be, there was a lot of new information given to us as a department, and new gear that we would need to get that is outside of our day-to-day firefighting equipment,” Keuschel said. “As with anything, we were not sure how or where we would be able to work these into our budget. I know that the Egan Family Foundation is a strong supporter in our community and have helped many organizations out without receiving the recognition that they deserved.”

For information about the Egan Family Foundation and Little Rapids Corp., go to www.littlerapids.com/charitable-giving.