Not sure if back in the Fire Academy they teach a course in scoring large grants from larger units of government. If they do, Brookfield Fire Chief Jim Adams must have aced the class.

With his leadership, Brookfield has now scored two critical grants from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The first, with a lofty $800,000 attached, will pay the lion’s share of the $1.1 to $1.2 million cost of a new fire truck which will become the backbone of the department’s small fleet. 

In addition to securing the critical funds, this purchase represents a notable strategic decision by the department in shifting the equipment and the staffing it will need to fight fires going forward.

The “quint,” as the vehicle is called, joins the functions of a traditional pump truck and ladder truck into a single vehicle. It allows the department to retire two aging vehicles and replace it with the multi-function quint, which can be run with the lower staffing levels now common in departments. 

A committee of firefighters is currently working out the specs they want on this truck, which will be, by a margin, the most expensive piece of equipment the village has ever purchased. Adams expects the quint to be on the street one year from now.

Not to be overshadowed, though, is a $57,000 grant the department has obtained from FEMA to purchase 11 mobile data terminals. These are effectively laptops that will be installed in each of the department’s response vehicles. The new technology will put a range of time-critical information in front of firefighters as they travel to a fire. This includes building floor plans and potential hazards, the location of all nearby fire hydrants, and all fire inspection records. 

This is modern-day firefighting. And modern-day grant writing.

A better dress code

Combining the insights of students and administrators, Riverside-Brookfield High School has made notable changes to its dress code for the fall semester. We applaud the effort, which eases up on restrictions on wearing baseball caps, headscarves, bandanas and hoodies to class. The new code also is less restrictive of the design of sleeveless attire that previously had a pretty ridiculous minimum width for straps. Sounds like something from the 1950s.

There are still, rightfully, prohibitions on clothing “deemed vulgar, inappropriate, unsafe or disruptive.” That translates partly to clothes pushing alcohol or drug messaging or which are sexually suggestive in their messaging.

An acknowledged accomplishment here is to back off clothing restrictions aimed primarily at students of color or young women. That is a positive improvement to a welcoming culture at RB.