Pekin Fire Department Welcomes New Fire Engine and Radios
For Immediate Release: January 21, 2022
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
Department Welcomes New Fire Engine and Radios
The City of Pekin has authorized the purchase of a new fire engine for the City’s southside through a HUD funding program, as well as new radios through a FEMA grant.
Pekin, IL- The City of Pekin recently approved the purchase of a new fire engine and radios for the Pekin Fire Department. These purchases were made possible through Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.
Pekin Fire Department received approval for federal funding totaling $136,363 through the 2020 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program for the purchase of radio equipment to be used with the county-wide radio system being implemented in Tazewell County. The new equipment comes as part of a greater county initiative to increase communication between public safety agencies.
“Communication is key to keeping our responders safe,” says Deputy Chief of Pekin Fire, Tony Rendleman. “All Tazewell County agencies will not only be able to talk to each other for the first time, but also will be able to communicate with agencies across the river. This is an important development given the current state of police, fire and EMS services.”
In 2020 the Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System (ETSB) board engaged in a bid process to replace an outdated and ineffective radio system with one which would place all agencies on the same system. Similar projects are occurring throughout the state as technologies have changed and the need for public safety agencies to work together has grown.
The City of Pekin will also have a new fire engine later this year or early 2023, dependent in part on manufacturing time. According to Community Development Block Grant Manager for the City of Pekin, Dave Bess, the purchase of the fire engine was made possible through the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program which is administered by HUD. The Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program (Section 108) provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients with the ability to leverage their annual grant allocation to access low-cost, flexible financing for economic development, housing, public facility, and infrastructure projects. The new fire engine is funded entirely through HUD’s Section 108 program.
CDBG Manager Bess describes replacing outdated fire equipment and apparatus as an “urgent need” within the fire department. However, new fire engines can have a starting cost of over half a million dollars.
“In considering the best ways to ensure and afford sufficient fire response capabilities moving forward, it was learned that many communities utilize CDBG in their Low-to-Moderate Income area to promote and enhance fire safety,” says Bess.
To ensure LMI households are largely being benefited by this purchase, the City mapped the fire districts’ service areas and calculated the overall percentage of LMI households which was shared with HUD within the application for funding. Based on this calculation, the new fire engine will primarily serve District 3, which is the Southside station located on Derby Street.
“Everyone has some level of concern when it comes to fire hazards; however, for many individuals with lower incomes that concern is greater. Not only are many of their homes more prone to fire risks due to living in older structures, but many of those individuals also identify as having mobility concerns. The Community Development Block Grant provided by HUD has allowed the City to undertake numerous programs to support some of our community’s most vulnerable populations and I think this [apparatus purchase] is another way to ensure the health and safety of those individuals,” says Bess.
The apparatus and equipment bode well for the Pekin Fire Department as the emergency medical service level the department gives to the community increased from Intermediate Life Support (ILS) provider to Advanced Life Support (ALS) in December 2021. The department now carries additional life-saving medications and can perform additional procedures aimed at stabilizing trauma, respiratory and cardiac emergencies sooner.
· AFG has funded $136,363 toward new radio equipment, allowing Pekin Fire to communicate with all Tazewell County public safety agencies.
· CBDG funds in conjunction with a HUD financing program have allowed the purchase of a new fire engine, primarily to service District 3 Southside station.
· Using the Section 108 financing program instead of the City’s annual CDBG funding allocation allows the City to promote fire safety while continuing other needed community projects.
· City of Pekin elevated the Fire Department’s service level from Intermediate Life Support to Advanced Life Support, allowing for higher level care to be issued to patients when the fire department is first on scene.