LOMPOC, Calif. - The Lompoc Fire Department is always looking to grants, especially during tough budget times.
However, there's no guarantee these funds will come through and it's a time-consuming process.
Without a dedicated grant writer at the fire department, officials say applying for and managing these funds is no easy task.
The process can take up to 100 hours a year.
While that process paid off in the form of an over $21,000 grant from Homeland Security, a multi-million dollar opportunity to address safety concerns at the decades-old fire station was abruptly taken away.
The Lompoc Fire Department now has 13 new sets of body armor and new rope equipment for rescues.
“Vehicles over the side, urban search and rescue types of deployment and most of the equipment that we had was over ten to fifteen years old,” said Batallion Chief Brian Federmann, explaining what the new equipment will be used for.
While fire officials are excited about their new ballistic and ropes gear, that excitement was short-lived
“Specifically the second floor and the roof where the wood timbers attach to the masonry building are not attached safe,” said Federmann.
As Batallion Chief Brian Federmann explains, a 2014 engineering study found that Fire Station One’s infrastructure is seismically unsafe.
“The executive summary tells us that in the event of an earthquake there would be a substantial or full catastrophic failure of the building,” said Federmann.
A $2.4 million dollar FEMA grant was awarded to address the aging building but that has since been retracted.
“They felt like those mitigation efforts are not conducive to what the overall threat of the building is and it would be throwing good money at bad,” said Federmann.
With proposed budget cuts and firefighting jobs on the line, Federmann says his fellow first responders now have even more concerns to deal with.
“It’s imperative that our personnel are safe in the event of a disaster that we're able to get out of the building and go do our number one job which is to serve the public,” said Federmann.
There will be another City Council Budget Workshop Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. where public safety entities like the fire department are hoping for some clarity.
Until then, Federmann says they’ll keep applying for grants and hopefully through future growth in the community they can allocate funds to fix the building.