Hancock seeks backup power for Fire Dept.

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette The Hancock City Council is working toward a grant for an emergency generator for its fire hall.

Hancock is seeking funds to equip the fire hall with an emergency power generator.

At the City Council’s regular March meeting, council members unanimously approved applying for a Michigan State Police Hazard Mitigation Grant.

The estimated cost of the project is $30,000. The grant would cover 75 percent of the costs and the remaining costs would be covered with fundraising proceeds from Fire Department fundraisers and donors.

“Basically, it would all be covered through grants and the fire department, and I think it’s a very worthy cause,” city manager Barry Givens said before the vote.

Givens said the project aligns with the city’s master plan. Objective 5.2 of the plan states “Provide resources for vulnerable populations during hazards.” A strategy under that objective is to identify public locations with backup power supplies.

The project was initialized because of department concerns in a power outage.

In May 2018, a vehicle crash knocked out power to the fire hall. Without power to operate the electric door openers, firefighters had to hand-crank the doors open, which significantly delayed their response, according to Givens.

“Just going through that, they set as a goal for them that they’d like to get a generator,” Givens said.

While investigating funding sources with city officials, it was realized that if the fire hall was designated as an emergency staging area or shelter, there might be more grant funding available to equip it.

“Within a week or so of our discussions, a program came out from the Michigan State Police,” Givens said.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) opened the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) following the state of emergencies declared by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the end of January and beginning of February because of the widespread extreme weather.

“The objective of the HMGP is to protect lives and significantly reduce or eliminate future disaster expenditures,” the MSP website stated.

One of the named uses of the grant is for strengthening vulnerable components of public infrastructure and facilities.

If the grant is awarded, the project will be bid out to contractors.

Hancock Fire Chief William Lepisto could not be reached for comment.