Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation awarded Terrebonne Parish Fire Protection District No. 4A (Grand Caillou) a grant of $24,929 for a ONE 1660 Rescue Boat and Village East Fire Protection District a $22,526 grant for five Motorola APX radios.
On Wednesday, Firehouse executives, employees and members of both fire departments celebrated the grants at the restaurant chain’s Houma location — where guests were treated to free Firehouse sandwiches, among other foods, and officials presented the new equipment.
Scotty Bumm, Chief of Operations at Grand Caillou Fire Department, called his department’s new rescue boat “extremely vital.”
“Prior to getting the boat, we’d have to use department members’ boats anytime we had to do a water rescue. If there was an emergency at a camp — a structure fire or anything, we had to sit by and wait on water patrol. That takes up valuable time,” he said. “Whereas now, we’ve got the boat and are right there immediately.”
Armond Triche, Chief of Village East Fire Department, said his department’s older radios are starting to break, and the manufacturer isn’t repairing the out-of-date equipment.
He highlighted how the radios are crucial to safety in the field. “That’s our lines of communication from inside. If we have a structure fire from inside to outside and you have no radio communication, you don’t know what’s going on,” Triche said. “It’s very vital to have it in the field.”
Both chiefs touched on how essential contributions from organizations such as Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation are to their respective fire departments.
“It’s amazing that there are organizations like this that’ll do that for us. We’re working on limited budgets, especially now with the COVID pandemic,” Bumm said.
“It means a lot to me. I’ve been in the service since I was 18 years old,” Triche said. “We get very little tax dollars every year, so this helps out tremendously.”
Established in 2005, the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation provides funding resources, lifesaving equipment, prevention education, training and disaster relief support to first responders and public safety organizations. Since its inception, it’s granted more than $57 million to such organizations in 49 states and Puerto Rico.
One way the organization raises money is through its ‘Round Up’ program — where customers can choose to round up their order to the nearest dollar, with the difference going towards the charity. According to the organization, more than 70 percent of the funds raised for the foundation come from Firehouse guests and the restaurant brand.
Josh Culbreth, owner of Houma’s Firehouse Subs, said that getting customers to round up their orders in some areas can be difficult. But in Terrebonne Parish, that’s not the case.
“They’ll actually get upset if you don’t ask [to round up],” he said. “It’s one of the parishes that has supported the Public Safety Foundation tremendously.”
Out of 1,200 Firehouse restaurants, the Houma location was No.1 in raising funds in multiple weeks in 2020, Culbreth said, “which is a testament to the people here.”
“They’ll give you the shirt off their back,” he continued. “And it’s great to be able to come down here and be a part of it.”