Burns gets Upper Yoder VFC $10K grant for firefighter safety needs

Open house attendance yields emergency lighting, thermal cameras

EBENSBURG, April 11 – A $10,000 state grant to help Upper Yoder Volunteer Fire Co. buy new emergency lighting and thermal imaging equipment came about because state Rep. Frank Burns set up his mobile constituent service office at the VFC’s open house last year.

Charles W. Snyder, secretary of the volunteer fire company, remembers that day well because Burns, D-Cambria, spent several hours at the event and wasn’t a wallflower.


“When you’re there for a few hours, like (Rep. Burns) was, you get an extended period of time to have some interaction with him … You get a chance to actually talk, converse about different things.” – Charles W. Snyder, Upper Yoder VFC secretary.


“Frank Burns asked if he could set a booth up, and he did – and when you’re there for a few hours, like he was, you get an extended period of time to have some interaction with him and the people in his office,” Snyder recalls. “You get a chance to actually talk, converse about different things.

“These (needs) are things that we had interaction with him about. Everything we have on this list has to do with firefighter safety. The new stuff is LED so it’s a lot brighter. Now we can see better, and know everything that’s there.”

Burns puts his role succinctly: “While at the event, members of the fire company approached me about funding for various equipment they were hoping to obtain. I then went to work to make it happen.”

Snyder said the grant obtained by Burns will fund the purchase of new, battery-powered lighting – enough to “light up the whole scene” at emergency calls. It replaces an old, outdated lighting system that required an electrical feed and for which repair parts are hard to find.

“Right now, we have to run an extension cord to the generator on the fire truck, or plug in at someone’s house,” Snyder said. “These new lights are battery powered and HAZMAT certified, so they would not cause any type of arcing when they are turned on or off, which is another improvement.”

Thermal imaging cameras are another valuable component of the grant-funded upgrade, with Snyder explaining they will literally enable firefighters to see behind walls and partitions.

“You don’t have to do (unnecessary) damage to a house, because with the cameras you can see through a wall to determine if there’s heat back there or not,” Snyder said. “If you’re looking for a person, the cameras would help there, too, because they would show up.”

Snyder said that Burns has already asked if the Upper Yoder VFC was planning another open house, and added, “He will be there.”