LCRA, PEC award almost $14,000 grant for specialized cleaning equipment

​​​​​Local Communities
LCRA and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives present a $13,994 grant to Hays County Emergency Services District #6 for specialized laundry units for its fire department. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Michael Chavez, Hays County ESD #6 lieutenant; Trista Fugate, PEC community engagement director; Caroline Tinsley Porter, PEC community engagement coordinator; Rick Arnic, LCRA Governmental Affairs representative; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; Steve Janda, Hays County ESD #6 commissioner; Scott Collard, North Hays County Fire Rescue fire chief; Steven Fretwell, Hays County ESD #6 engineer; and Joshua Peters, Hays County ESD #6 engineer.

North Hays County Fire Rescue plans to use a $13,994 community grant to fight an unseen danger: toxic chemicals on firefighters’ uniforms.

The grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative will help Hays County Emergency Services District #6 purchase specialized laundry units for its fire department, North Hays County Fire Rescue, to clean hazardous materials and cancer-causing agents off firefighters’ gear. The district will provide $3,500 in matching funds.

North Hays County Fire Rescue has more than 100 sets of protective clothing for structure and wildland firefighting that need to be cleaned routinely. During an emergency call, gear can become saturated with contaminants, soot particles and dangerous chemicals. The department’s current machines can’t efficiently clean that many gloves, hoods, coats and pants. 

“It’s important to me to do everything we can to keep our people safe,” said Scott Collard, North Hays County Fire Rescue fire chief. “There are risks involved and our firefighters accept that and know that, but the department wants to keep them healthy and wants them to have a long career. That then allows us to better serve the community. It all ties together.”

A new washer-extractor and dryer – with accompanying electrical and plumbing installation work – means gear worn on a fire call can be cleaned in larger quantities and put back in service more quickly. Collard said it can take two days for specialized clothing to be cleaned by the department’s current laundry units.

North Hays County Fire Rescue is a division of the Hays County Emergency Services District #6 and serves about 245 square miles, including Dripping Springs, the Village of Bear Creek and the communities of Henly and Driftwood in Hays County. The department has about 90 people, both career firefighters and volunteers, working out of six fire stations.

“I want our firefighters to go home healthy, safe and to not worry at night about ‘what will happen to me in 20 years with all this stuff I’m exposed to,’” Collard said. “If a good gear cleaning program prevents one firefighter from developing thyroid cancer, we’ve done our job.”

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 wholesale 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 will be accepted Jan. 1-Jan. 31, 2019. More information is available at

About LCRA
​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 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

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Clara Tuma

Source: LCRA Business News

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