By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — The City Council on Tuesday authorized the Fire Department to apply for a grant to improve fire safety in the community.
The money will go toward fire safety identification signs that will be placed throughout schools, retirement communities and municipal buildings. It also will fund evacuation and emergency response education in those buildings.
“We recognize the need to have a planned course of action during an emergency for all of our citizens, especially children and seniors,” Mayor Gary Burtka said.
The grant will help the city comply with the National Fire Protection Association’s code for emergency evacuation, which was updated in fall 2008. The new signs will have better a definition and are hoped to eliminate confusion in the event of an evacuations and will be placed in strategic locations throughout buildings in the city.
The council also authorized a 10 percent fund match not to exceed $10,000 for the grant; officials hope to come up with the match through donations or fundraisers.
City officials are unsure if Allen Park Public Schools will be obligated to put any money toward the grant. Fire Chief Mark Hogrebe has met with school officials, but no definite answers have resulted from those talks.
“We believe that our cost, the 10 percent, can be covered by one fish dinner or some type of event that we can do from a fundraising standpoint,” said City Administrator Eric Waidelich. Various grants received by the department aren’t meant to improve working conditions, he said, but are meant to help residents in need.
“It doesn’t guarantee the money,” Waidelich said. “But so far the community has come through graciously when it comes to safety and emergency when it comes to children and seniors.
“We will have to believe that they will come through again.”