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Columbus News

Posted on: June 27, 2023

American Red Cross bestows award on Columbus Fire Department


The Central and Western Nebraska Board of Directors for the American Red Cross has honored the Columbus Fire Department for its proactive efforts in keeping the community safe.

Columbus Fire Chief Ryan Gray accepted the board’s Community Preparedness Award on the department’s behalf Friday, June 23rd, during a ceremony in Grand Island. The award stems from a partnership between CFD and the American Red Cross in which they identify high-risk neighborhoods to help install smoke detectors in homes at no cost to the occupants, as well as educate them on fire safety and help them make a home escape plan in the event of a fire.

According to American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Gina Troncone, the CFD and American Red Cross partnership has resulted in 400-500 smoke detectors installed locally in the last four years. About 200 were installed last summer alone, she noted, adding that CFD really stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking proper safety precautions to continue installing smoke detectors.

“I personally feel like Columbus Fire Department goes above and beyond and are in your face in their neighborhood,” Troncone said, citing events the department has held over the years with organizations like local nonprofit Centro Hispano. “Columbus Fire is very, very proactive within their community …”

Gray said the CFD team was honored by the award, though stressed what they all do isn’t about recognition.

“It was a privilege for our people to be recognized for their efforts in providing our community with a lifesaving resource in smoke detectors,” Gray said. “This is just the beginning of a good relationship we have with the Red Cross. I have plans to continue that relationship and our community outreach to keep our people safe.”

Platte County Emergency Management was also honored with the same award for its efforts. Tim Hofbauer is the emergency management director for Platte County and the City of Columbus. Emergency Management provides strategic direction to the public and responders in the time of a disaster. Before a disaster, emergency management is responsible for the development and testing of comprehensive plans for responders and support agencies. Community education regarding the risks, mitigation procedures, and public response is also the responsibility of emergency management.

(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Columbus Fire Chief Ryan Gray, left, accepts the Community Preparedness Award from the American Red Cross' Gina Troncone on June 23rd in Grand Island.)

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