Canyon is gearing up to make major upgrades to its fire department with the help of grants and reserve funds. Canyon and its city commission recently accepted an $18,000 grant from the Texas Forest Service to facilitate the purchase of newer equipment to help fight local grass fires.
“The grants are providing more protection that we can provide for the grass fires,” Dennis Gwyn, Canyon volunteer fire chief, said. “It’s going to give us new and better equipment to be able to fight those fires.”
The Canyon Fire Department is allocated a budget of just over $700,000. With only 5 full-time employees, Randy Criswell, Canyon city manager of two and a half years, says the Canyon Fire Department benefits from the 32 to 36 year-round volunteer fire fighters.
“$700,000 to the citizens of Canyon for what they receive in regards to fire protection is a tremendous bargain,” Criswell said. “If we had a fully staffed department with all 40 full time employees, for a city this size, there would be a payroll of $2 million a year.”
Aside from the purchase of the new grass fire equipment, the Canyon Fire Department will also be replacing a 1975 pumper truck and a 1978 rescue truck with the assistance of Canyon’s reserve funds. You can navigate here to find more information about what other upgrades are to be made in the fire department.
“I’m glad the [city commission] saw fit to do it,” Mike Webb said, Canyon fire chief. “We haven’t had any luck getting them fixed, they just wore out.”
The new fire trucks are currently being processed and should be delivered to Canyon within a 90 day period; therefore, they will be ready for service going into the new year.
“We have an obligation to the tax payers to provide them with the best service we possibly can for their tax dollars,” Criswell said. “What this means for Canyon residents, is even greater security with regard to our ability to respond to fire and emergency situations.”
The Canyon Fire Department not only serves the citizens of Canyon, but also the students and faculty at West Texas A&M University.
“We fight fires over on the campus too. And we have equipment that allows us to do that” Criswell said. “We have the capability, and the experience and the commitment to taking just as good of care of [WTAMU students and faculty] as we do anybody else that we serve.”