Congratulations to the following Fire Departments on receiving their recent equipment grants!
- Randolph Volunteer Fire Department - Randolph, Nebraska
Read more about these grants and others in the section below "How FSF Equipment Grants Help"
As in any profession, there are often much-needed tools that fire and rescue department budgets simply don’t provide for. Unlike most professions, however, the consequences of firefighting and rescue personnel not having these critical items can have tragic results.
Many fire and rescue departments in the U.S. are under-funded and volunteer-based. This lack of funding often means that critical on-scene safety and rescue equipment is wanting. To assist these agencies, we make grants to purchase needed equipment. Our focus is on funding equipment that is critical to emergency scene life and safety (as opposed, for example, to expanding service areas).
All fire and rescue departments in the United States are eligible to apply for an FSF equipment grant. (Please note that while we consider all applications, we receive many more than we can fund.)
SPECIAL NOTE IF YOU WANT TO DONATE USED PPE: We occasionally get requests from departments wanting to donate their used turn-out gear to us so that we can then donate it to other departments in need of it. We are not set up to do this. However if you want to donate used turn-out gear, please visit RescueThreads. This non-profit organization turns used PPE into sellable items, and uses the profits to buy new PPE for needy departments. .
Even in high-population states like New Jersey there are many rural pockets, served by cash-starved volunteer departments. Roosevelt did not have enough fire fighting suits to outfit their members, forcing them to train without them and to not meet federal standards. No department should be without this most basic of equipment for its members.
Tazewell is a rural community in Marion County in west central Georgia near Alabama. Their primary service area is 80 square miles, which extends to 366 square miles when considering their mutual aid agreements within Marion County. Like many communities with little tax support, the Department must rely on fundraisers and donations to fund its activities thus making it very difficult to obtain a high cost item such as a thermal imager. Nonetheless, believing an imager would decrease the life threat of fires to its members and help search and rescue operations, the Department asked FSF for help in acquiring one. FSF was glad to help.
Reno is a rural area 100 miles northeast of Dallas near the Oklahoma border. The area is growing rapidly with new structures, businesses, and industries. This growth is good news but tax revenues can’t keep up with additional demands. Area residents are largely on low and fixed incomes thus unable to donate enough funds to enable the Department to purchase critical equipment. An Oximeter is especially important now because an increase in structures creates even greater need for carbon monoxide testing. The Department saw the Oximeter as a critical requirement for resident and firefighter safety, and asked FSF for help. They are purchasing it with an FSF grant and will make available to neighboring communities.
Orderville is a small community in southern Utah near Zion National Park. Their fire department is typical of the volunteer corps that are the first and often only line of fire protection for rural communities. They struggle to simply keep critical turn-out gear reasonably up-to-date and safe. In this case, Orderville FD needed to replace 20- and 30 –year-old helmets that were no longer serviceable. Every firefighter needs a safe helmet and FSF was glad to help. with a grant.
Gordon is in a remote corner of Wisconsin. Without a gas detector of their own to alert firefighters to the presence of toxic gases at an emergency scene, they were forced to wait for equipment from other agencies to arrive from over 30 miles away...and even then the equipment was quite limited. With this gas detector the members of Gordon VFD can quickly assess a situation and get on with their jobs.
Elgin is a fairly large city with a population of over 100,000 and a full-time force of 133 firefighters. Yet even large agencies can have a $0 budget for incredibly useful, life-saving items. Elgin, for instance, needed a Hazardous Material (HazMat) software application and the iPad to run it on. The Elgin FD responds to well over 100 HazMat-type incidents a year, and having up-to-date information on the materials they encounter and other crucial information such as aerial views of the scene is critical. This is an example of how tablet-based software applications are making a huge positive impact on the safety of the public and first responders.
Marion Community FD is an all-volunteer agency that serves five townships in two counties. 65% of their 350 calls per year are medical calls, and agency members often respond in their personal vehicles, creating a need for many first responder medical kits. With all the financial pressure on fire departments, plus their expanding scope of responsibility, Marion's budget did not cover these essential items. With an FSF grant the department purchased the kits.
Nadeau VFD is a small agency that uses Class A foam on almost all fires, which is a sound strategy. A very large fire at a cedar fence company consumed all of their foam. No other grants would fund the purchase of this smart-to-use and critically needed item, and there was no money in the budget. With this grant from FSF, Nadeau VFD was able to buy 30 pails of much needed foam.
Waupaca Fire District in Wisconsin is like so many volunteer agencies: they have 150 square miles of territory to cover and they need to protect over 15,000 people! Budgets are tight and federal grants, to the extent they are available, are eaten up replacing bare necessities. Waupaca needed proper auto extrication gloves, and some basic self-rescue equipment so that fire fighters in trouble can get themselves out of a burning building. This FSF grant bought these basics for them.
Salem is a rural town in north-central Arkansas located near the Ozark foothills. Although the town is surrounded by wildland recreation areas, their all-volunteer fire department didn't have the proper protective gear to fight wildfires. There was no other grant money available to them, so FSF was happy to give the department a grant enabling them to purchase 10 sets of wildfire PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Gratis is in a rural area of southwestern Ohio. Like many smaller departments, it is always trying to acquire needed equipment for their firefighters safety. A misting fan is essential for firefighter rehabilitation - the process of returning body temperature to a safe level after periods of exposure to intense heat in full turn-out gear. Extrication gloves are required for one of the most common tasks that firefighters perform: extricating trapped passengers from vehicles at accident scenes.
The town of Ellendale is right in the middle of wildland fire danger as gateway to Delaware’s beach resort area. Its volunteer fire, rescue and EMS department serves the town and surrounding 60 square miles. As is too often the case, the department lacked the funds to adequately equip its members with proper wildfire fighting equipment, and no state or federal monies were available. FSF was able to fund some of this equipment need with this grant.
The Olive Volunteer Fire Department is typical of many VFDs in the country: serving their community with shoe-string availability of equipment and supplies. After fighting the largest grass fire in their county's history (300 homes destroyed or damaged) and the destruction of one of their trucks, they found themselves in desperate need of some basic supplies in order to be capable of simply fighting fires! With our grant they bought a new pump, hose, reel, nozzle and foam system.
When a fire department grows, there is often a lag between the needs of the growing community and the capabilities of its public safety agencies. Etowah is experiencing such a lag now, resulting in a lack of needed wildfire fighting equipment to protect the expanded grasslands and wooded areas for which the department is now responsible. With this grant, Etowah FD can purchase necessary hoses, nozzles and tools.
With a small fixed population and a large tourist influx, Shenandoah VFC has to pay for capabilities that exceed their funding base. They also supply water rescue services to the entire county, an area of 314 square miles traversed by the Shenandoah River! And as critical as it is, the priority of water rescue equipment often comes in below other critical equipment. Shenandoah VFC was in desperate need of basic water rescue gear, and FSF was glad we could help.
In rural Alaska a Cessna and a powerboat are often the family cars. Waterways are still major transportation lanes, making them major sites for EMS and rescue operations, including during the half of the year of near total-blackness (which, of course, hinders these maneuvers). The Aleknagik Fire/EMS department needed underwater radar and GPS equipment to safely navigate at night, and to aid at rescue scenes on the major lake and waterways in their area.
This rural Alabama agency responds to many accidents involving tractors, farm equipment and industrial machinery, as well as large truck on the local highway. These kinds of accidents require specialized extrication equipment to save the victims and insure the safety of rescue personnel -- equipment that is expensive and often not practical to get government funding for. With the equipment they bought using FSF's grant, the Chelsea Fire and Rescue Department has already saved a man trapped under a tractor!
Training Fire Simulator
A huge problem for the fire service is getting enough tactical decision-making experience for fire officers at actual fires. The decisions that need to be made in a real fire are many, complex, and critical. The only effective way to build such good decision-making skills is by the use of a fire simulator. With this FSF grant, Union Road VFD can buy the computer, projector, and software required to make a fire simulator. They will be able to effectively train members before they have to make decisions while fighting a real fire. The Union Road VFD has also agreed to promote the fire simulator's use with other regional fire departments, thus leveraging our assistance.
Residential Knox Boxes
Ridgeland FD is a mixed full-time/volunteer agency in a high-poverty, rural county. A risk assessment of their agency identified clear communications in a crisis as a top priority. The Scott Voice Amplifiers that FSF helped the FD purchase allows firefighters to more clearly and surely communicate with the incident commander while wearing breathing apparatus. This is essential in an IDLH (immediately dangerous to life or health) environment. During a Mayday event, these amps are literally lifesavers.
Rapid Intervention (RIT) Pak and Bottle
When a fire fighter gets in trouble - "goes down" - and needs to be rescued, the Rapid Intervention Team goes into action. It is their quick and professional action which saves the downed team member. Masonville Township needed a specific air pak that was designed for these situations, and would allow the rescue team to quickly get to the downed fire fighter while carrying special rescue equipment. With a minimal tax base, the department was unable to afford one without this grant from FSF.
FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera
Vernon County is in a rural part of Missouri, and is part of a mutual support network of agencies in that part of the state. By acquiring a FLIR camera, VCAD, the only structured search and rescue organization in the area, will be much better able to find lost children and adults, particularly in low light when the danger is the greatest in the dense woods. FSF was particularly attracted to the fact that VCAD will share this camera's capabilities with several neighboring agencies, thus multiplying the benefits of this grant.
The Battle Creek Community Fire Department of 21 volunteers serves a small rural community in western Iowa. The Department responds to a variety of emergencies involving fires, vehicles, ice and water rescue, and storms. Most of their calls are in the late evening and night hours so reliable lighting is critical. The Department’s flashlights were almost 20 years old and internal corrosion was causing the batteries to drain until weak or dead. Firefighters couldn’t count on having the lighting they required for emergencies. Now, with an FSF grant, the firefighters are safer with dependable lighting provided by new rechargeable flashlights available in Department vehicles.
The Bendersville Community Fire Department is located in south-central Pennsylvania 40 miles north of Gettysburg. Their service area includes rural mountainous terrain with limited accessibility where they routinely respond to fires and rescues without having the appropriate equipment. To increase safety and effectiveness, they set a goal of acquiring and outfitting an all-terrain firefighting/rescue vehicle. With contributions from other sources the Company acquired and set up an all-terrain vehicle with trailer. They still needed an attached skid unit to complete the project, which they acquired with an FSF grant.
Carbon Monoxide and Multigas Detectors
The all-volunteer Oakland/Mapleville Fire Department, serves a community located in a densely populated section of Rhode Island. They couldn't afford gas detection equipment. In responding to emergencies, they had to wait until the equipment arrived from several miles away to find out if first responders would be exposed to toxic gases or if there was danger of an explosion. They also needed equipment to monitor carbon monoxide blood levels of first responders and emergency victims in time to prevent serious injury. Now, using the FSF grant, the FD can purchase equipment to reduce these dangers and increase firefighter, EMS, and community safety.
Wildland Nozzles and Hose
Louisville is as rural community in central Mississippi with concentrated agricultural and lumber industries. Wildland fires are not an unusual occurrence there, yet like many rural communities, funds are in very short supply--even the basics like appropriate nozzles and hoses for fighting these fires. This FSF grant helped Louisville FD to keep a baseline capability for aiding its citizens during these events.
Carbon Monoxide Pulse Oximetry Meters
Because of the weak economy, and the pressures on municipal budgets, the fire department was unable to afford these critical safety items on their own. With FSF assistance, they are now in addressing the state's requirement and their firefighters are safer when fighting interior fires.
Generator Lights And Emergency Bulbs
ATV Rescue Vehicle