HEUVELTON — The Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department has received a $7,500 grant through the office of Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, to make energy efficiency improvements that the department’s chief said will eventually save taxpayers on electric bills.
Fire Chief Nick B. Friot said the money will be used to fit the department’s fire station in the village of Heuvelton with new energy-efficient LED lighting. He said finding ways to save on energy costs is important to the long-term financial viability of the department, as other fire protection costs continue to rise.
“If we can keep the light bill lower it’s a good thing,” said Mr. Friot. “Obviously that’s money we can spend on other things we need, like turnout gear.”
Mr. Friot said the new lighting project at the Heuvelton fire station will piggyback off another energy-efficiency upgrade made last year, when his department removed its old standard tank-style water heater and replaced it with two tankless, on-demand heaters.
He said the department spent about $2,500 of its own money on the water heating upgrade and is already seeing a substantial savings. He said the department’s old tank heated water constantly, even when the firehouse was vacant. He said the new system heats water only when needed.
“My gas bill was like $13 last month,” Mr. Friot said. “The more we can try to control our costs, the better for everyone.”
The Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department’s 2013-14 budget is around $153,000, according to Mr. Friot. He said most of that money comes from a fire protection contract with the town of Oswegatchie for roughly $108,000. The Heuvelton department also serves the towns of Macomb and DePeyster and the village of Heuvelton. They contribute about $6,700, $18,450 and $19,000 respectively, to the department’s budget.
In a news release, Mrs. Russell said helping fund energy efficiency improvements at the Heuvelton department is critical to making sure Heuvelton, and other small departments across the north country, can continue providing fire protection services.
She said, “The Heuvelton Fire Department must respond to a large geographic area and they do it very well. They are true professionals who pride themselves on always being prepared to respond to all types of incidents.”