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Champaign Fire Department receives $5,000 grant

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Champaign Fire Department receives $5,000 grant

The Champaign Fire Department, located at 307 S. Randolph St.

The Champaign Fire Department, located at 307 S. Randolph St.

Elisabeth Neely

The Champaign Fire Department, located at 307 S. Randolph St.

Elisabeth Neely

Elisabeth Neely

The Champaign Fire Department, located at 307 S. Randolph St.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

The Champaign Fire Department received a $5,000 grant from Marathon Petroleum Company early this January to enhance its Unmanned Aerial Systems program.

Randy Smith, Champaign deputy fire marshal, said in an email the grant will be used by the fire department to upgrade equipment and provide additional training for pilots in the UAS program.

“Advancements in UAS has provided a new opportunity to provide lifesaving information during emergency operations including hazardous materials response, natural disasters, water/ice rescues, large fires and live fire training exercises,” Smith said.

Brianna Patterson, communications specialist at Marathon Petroleum Corporation said in an email that the Terminal, Transport & Rail organization facilitates a grant program for first responders in its operating areas, which includes a storage terminal in Champaign.

Patterson said previous response exercises, group training classes and terminal tours with the Champaign Fire Department allowed MPC to gain insight into the department’s needs. After working together in several activities, the TT&R employees of Champaign decided to submit a grant application for the Champaign Fire Department.

While the amount and the frequency of grants to a particular location vary, funds may be granted to first responders near any of the otherly nearly 80 TT&R locations across 15 states.

This grant was also awarded to the Champaign Fire Department in 2013 and 2016.

“Grants like this one allow us to aid in equipping our local first responders with the tools and training they need to handle and mitigate an emergency situation, however unlikely it may be,” Patterson said. “These grants also help us build mutually beneficial relationships, which is critical to our success as a company and as a responsible neighbor in the community.”   

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