Firehouse Subs recently donated $27,000 to the Tallulah Fire Department through the Firehouse Public Safety Foundation.
The money was used to purchase 10 new sets of personal protective equipment. Each set is a complete combination of protective gear designed for firefighter safety, known as Bunker Gear.
About half of the suits the TFD used were outdated. Budget constraints have prevented them from purchasing newer and safer equipment. The donation enabled the department to purchase the newest equipment to replace the remaining half.
“It helps tremendously, you know, especially in smaller departments,” Tallulah Fire Chief Harold Allen said.
The TFD is made up of five full-time firefighters and 15 part-time volunteers.
Allen said the new equipment reduces the physical strain on firefighters during operations.
“It’s lighter and cooler than the old equipment. The old gear, when wet, was very heavy,” he said. “(The new suits) repel water much better than the old gear.
“Nobody wants to be on a call, worrying about the proper functioning of their equipment,” Allen said in a Firehouse Subs press release. “We are so grateful to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation for this grant and to our community for knowing that those tasked with protecting them are well equipped to do the job.”
The donation was made in October 2021, but a small celebration was held at the Firehouse Subs site in Monroe, Louisiana on June 20. Officials and firefighters from Tallulah as well as representatives from Firehouse Subs were present. The new cargo hold equipment was on display.
Luke Nichols has owned the Monroe Firehouse Subs site for four years.
“According to government regulations, equipment over 10 years old poses a safety hazard to both firefighters and those they work to protect,” he said. “With a roster of 20 firefighters, the Tallulah Fire Department has at times been forced to use old equipment or even go without. Now they’ll have enough gear to get around, thanks to the Firehouse Public Safety Foundation, and they’ll be in full compliance with government regulations.
Nichols said that since its inception in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the foundation has awarded $69 million to first responders and public safety organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico.
“Every quarter, fire departments across the United States can apply for grants from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to get the lifesaving equipment they need,” he said. “The Tallulah FD team come out all the time to support us, so we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to give back to them.