FARMERSVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – A fire department in Montgomery County recently received the funding it needs to purchase a life-saving device. While the grant will help, the fire chief says privately operated departments need more to stay afloat.

The Farmersville Fire Department recently received a grant to purchase a second Lucas Device. The device designed to make giving CPR aboard an ambulance safer for medics and the patient.

“This will do your CPR for you, and it will count on a 30 to two, so it will do 30 compressions here, and it will pause for us to be able to do two ventilations,” Farmersville Fire Department Medic Lindsey Erisman said.

The cost of this device is $20,000. With the help of a $15,000 Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation Grant, the Farmersville Fire Department is getting a second one.

The grant is specifically for purchasing equipment that makes the job safer for workers. In this case, medics will be able to sit in the back of the ambulance instead of standing to administer CPR.

“While she’s doing the airway, getting an IV, the quality of CPR would just continually get worse, whereas with this, it’s consistent,” Farmersville Fire Department Medic Courtney Seif said.

Farmersville Fire Chief Jeff Erisman said many people in his own community may not even realize their EMS and fire protection come from a private fire department. This means they don’t get the same support public departments supported by a municipality get.

Erisman said grants like these are hard to come by for any fire department, but as a private fire department, they’ve missed out on some funding opportunities, like pandemic relief aid.

“By us not being owned by an entity, we were unable to receive anything through their funding,” Erisman said.

The department covers Farmersville and is contracted to serve Jackson Township. All of the the department’s revenue comes from a tax levy, EMS runs and fundraising.

To stay within their budget, they have to rely on part-time employees and volunteers. They also do not have access to the state pension or health insurance system for their firefighters and medics.

“It’s unfortunate, because we do the same thing as any other department around does,” Erisman said.

Now, Erisman is headed to the Ohio statehouse to work with lawmakers to create a bill that would knock down some of the barriers private departments face.

Without a change, Erisman said it will a challenge to keep private and volunteer departments staffed in the long-term.

“If we don’t start paying folks, we’re gonna lose people,” Erisman said. “Not having a retirement system or anything, we don’t have anything to offer anybody to keep them.”

The Farmersville Fire Department does have 1.5 mill renewal levy on the May ballot, which, if passed, would not create any new taxes, and help maintain some funding over the next five years.

Erisman said is is considering adding an additional levy on the ballot next year.