Firefighters save lives, they prevent property damage, they rescue kittens from trees, they are first responders, they are an important part of our society.
This year, as in other years wildfires raged across the country with absolutely devastating consequences for many. Especially in places like Oregon and California, every day was filled with wondrous and yet incredible tragic photographs of these fires spreading. Houses burned, the land destroyed, and other devastating consequences. Firefighters were on the front lines!
Fire departments must be funded properly so that they can continue to save lives, protect property, and ensure that when tragedy strikes, the results can be mitigated. That’s why I love telling stories of grants funding budget shortfalls or expansions, or important equipment purchases. Because it means that for one more fire department, squads will be properly staffed, life-saving equipment purchased, and risks just a little bit more mitigated.
Hillsboro Fire Protection District has received a grant to be able to hire an additional six firefighters to their force. They currently have a roster of nine firefighter personnel on staff.
Chief Brian Gaude spoke on this grant award, saying:
We applied in late 2019 for a grant from FEMA. We were notified we got the grant in late September. We had no idea it was going to come through and we just got an email one day saying we were chosen for the grant.
The SAFER grant in the past had been on a cost-sharing basis, meaning the first year of the grant FEMA picked up the whole amount, and then the subsequent years the fire district was responsible for having to pay a portion of the salaries. But, because of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, it was changed to 100-percent funding for three years. Before that, we would have had to decide whether to accept it.”
This grant was issued through the FY2019 SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program. The six firefighters will be able to begin their work in February 2022.
Grants of up to $30,000 to California nonprofit organizations and government agencies in eligible areas for recovery and relief efforts related to wildfires. Eligible expenses include support for evacuees, including immediate needs, housing, and food; assistance to residents, those evacuated and to those displaced or affected by the closure of employment; support for emergency shelter; and efforts to support firefighters (equipment, etc.).
Grants of up to $12,000 to Washington fire districts and fire departments serving non-urban areas to support training and firefighting equipment purchases related to wildland fire suppression efforts. Funding is intended to support communication systems development, fire prevention education, equipment purchases, property refurbishment, dry hydrant construction, and training programs.