COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — While the weather is just warming up, some people are already thinking about the deep freezes to come next winter.
A firehouse in the Poconos is getting some upgrades to make sure it can keep people warm during emergencies.
The Coolbaugh Township fire hall is a place where people can come to get warm when major storms knock out power, but this past winter, things didn’t work out as planned.
“Our heating system was not working correctly, so they’re coming to somewhere where they are expecting to be kept warm, and we can’t keep ourselves warm correctly,” said Coolbaugh Township Assistant Fire Chief Tomas Keane.
Keane knew he had to find a solution to fix the heat and fund other repairs. He worked with State Representative Maureen Madden to request a local share grant. That’s money that comes from gambling revenues to improve the community.
He was thrilled to learn the fire company will be receiving $100,000 to help keep families comfortable during emergencies.
“They can have a little temporary home here for whether it’s one day, eight hours, a week, whatever we can do,” Keane said.
The money will go toward many building repairs.
“We know we’re going to be able to put new sheetrock on the walls, new insulation in behind it.”
Funds will also help the department help with the most common thing people ask for in the warming center.
“Somewhere they can plug in and charge their devices — that’s the main thing. They want to still have contact with the outside world,” Keane added.
There are only four working outlets in the entire hall, so when dozens of people need to charge their devices at the same time, that can be a problem.
The grant will also help volunteers add several charging stations, upgrade the kitchen, replace ceiling tiles, and upgrade lighting. If there’s any money left, they hope to add showers to two bathrooms to make this a fully functioning emergency shelter.
All the work should be done in time for next winter.