$435,000 Grant For Mason County Volunteer Firefighter Programs
MASON COUNTY FIRE DISTRICTS RECEIVE GRANT VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER PROGRAMS
Last August Mason County Fire District 2 led a cooperative effort to bring together five individual Mason County Fire Districts (District’s 2,4,6,8, and 11) to help build upon and improve their communities volunteer firefighter programs. Over the past 10 years both the national and local fire service community has seen a drastic reduction in the amount of volunteer support provided for emergency operations. This reduction has been driven in large part by an increase in training/safety requirements, work demands, family obligations and other outside time commitments.
A significant part of the collaborative process was the submission of a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant request (click here for SAFER grant info) through the Department of Homeland Security. The grant would help to recruit, train (to state and national standards), equip, outfit, and retain volunteer firefighters/EMT’s within the five participating Districts over a three year performance period. The grant also aims to bolster and improve existing volunteer firefighter programs. The grant request amount was for $435,150 over the three year performance period. This past Friday the cooperative was officially awarded the SAFER grant. The grant award is the largest fire and EMS agency grant ever awarded in Mason County and it clearly demonstrates the need and benefit for local agency cooperation in Mason County.
There are no monetary “strings attached” or cost matches for this grant. The only requirement for the grant is that the partnership must meet its our own stated grant parameters and objectives. The parameters of the grant will aim to bring on and train nearly 50 new volunteer firefighters among the fire district partnership, which is a number that the partnership expects to far surpass. The grant will also provide the partnership with the assistance of a full time volunteer coordinator and provide funding for volunteer firefighter retention program implementation and improvement. The grant programs success will be measured through both internal and external performance measurements, benchmarking and evaluation. The first steps of getting the grant program underway will happen immediately in the form of volunteer firefighter program marketing and community meetings. For anyone in Mason County who is interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter they should contact their local Fire District. All Fire Districts in Mason County maintain an active volunteer firefighter program.
March 7, 2013
Beau Bakken, Fire Chief
Mason County Fire District 2
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