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
“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board engaged in a bid process to replace an outdated and ineffective radio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CDBG Manager Bess describes replacing outdated fire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
“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
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
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