Township receives $22,000 grant for fire gear

Vernon Township firefighters John Granberry, left, Zach Shlater and Shelby Rollins pose with new sets of turnout gear purchased through a Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation grant.

VERNON TOWNSHIP — A restaurant chain whose support for firefighters burns brightly in its name has granted more than $22,000 for gear to a fire department in Hancock County.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation awarded the grant to the Vernon Township Fire Department, which has used the funds to buy nine sets of the protective gear firefighters wear in dangerous situations.

Mark Elder, deputy chief of the Vernon Township Fire Department, said each set of turnout gear consists of a helmet, coat, pants, boots and a special hood.

“It is the protective equipment that firefighters will wear inside of a structure fire or on the scene of a car accident,” Elder said.

Each set costs thousands of dollars, Elder said, due to the amount of protection the materials provide.

“It’s not your standard, daily clothing that you would wear around,” he said. “There’s a lot more to it than that.”

He and his colleagues are grateful for the grant as the fire department continues to grow and continues providing fire protection and emergency medical services in Fortville, McCordsville and the unincorporated parts of Vernon Township.

“It helps us out quite a bit, because what it will allow us to do is use budgeted dollars to buy additional gear we hadn’t planned on buying for members, or other uses in the department where there is a need,” he said.

The award comes as the department gets ready to hire the first full-time firefighters in the department’s history, bolstering its force of paid-part-time and paid-per-run personnel. Plans are also in the works for a new fire station in McCordsville that will be able to be staffed 24/7, unlike the town’s current station.

The grant was one of 96 Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation awarded to public safety organizations across the country during the most recent grant application period. The 96 grants total more than $1.8 million.

“We are committed to helping organizations such as Vernon Township Fire Department continue their lifesaving work within local communities,” Robin Peters, executive director of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, said in a news release. “We are honored to be able to award this grant and do our part to ensure that Fortville, McCordsville and all of Vernon Township is safer for everyone, including first responders.”

To donate and learn more about Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, visit