Meridian Volunteer Fire Department receives $4,200 grant

Pictured (L-R) is Meridian Fire Department board president Simon Thomas, Central Community Foundation board member Peggy Wolfe and Fire Chief John Pross.

Sight is one of a firefighter’s most precious commodities, but smoke can quickly deprive them of that sense, making it difficult to navigate quickly to victims or the source of a fire. Thankfully, advances in thermal imaging technology has given firefighters the ability to “see” through smoke.

Unfortunately, smaller budgets for small fire departments prevents them from purchasing the live-saving thermal imaging cameras. Such was the case for the Meridian Volunteer Fire Department, a 12-person department that fights an average of 75 fires a year. However, thanks to a $4,200 grant from the Central Community Foundation, the department now has two thermal imaging cameras.

Grants from the Central Community Foundation are made possible by Central Rural Electric Cooperative members who round up their monthly electric bills to the nearest dollar. These funds are put into the Foundation, which distributes them to individuals and organizations in need throughout Central’s seven-county service area.

The cameras will be used to help fight all types of fires and gives firefighters the ability to detect fires in enclosed spaces, as well hot spots. It can also help firefighters find people who may be trapped in a fire.

Fire Chief John Pross, who has been with the department for 20 years serving the past five as the chief, said the department has never had thermal imaging equipment as annual funds are tight, with the budget being focused on firefighter training, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs of the department’s five apparatuses and one mini-apparatus.

To help with funding, the department hosts an annual Bean and Stew Dinner. This year’s event will be Saturday, October 24 from 5-8 p.m. at the Fire Station located at 12250 OK-105, Guthrie. Tickets can be purchased at the event and people can either eat at the station or take their meal to go. All money raised will go toward the fire department.

The Central Community Foundation is a charitable organization established by Central Rural Electric Cooperative to administer a program called Operation Round Up. The foundation has five fields of interest: healthcare, education, disaster relief, personal need and community purpose. Visit and click on the Operation Round Up page under the Community tab for more information.


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