AP NEWS

Rural firefighters get more funding

March 29, 2019

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is supporting Ohio’s rural fire departments and the communities they serve by offering funding for projects and needed items.

Through the Community Wildfire Risk Reduction (CWRR) grant program, the ODNR Division of Forestry recently approved grant funding for 25 projects totaling $52,106 for fire departments in rural areas of eastern and southern Ohio, according to a news release.

“Rural fire departments are the front line for wildfires in Ohio,” said Dan Balser, chief of the Division of Forestry, in the release. “We strive to help local firefighters be prepared to guard the safety of the communities they serve. These grants will assist those departments in their challenging task of wildfire prevention and suppression.”

CWRR grant projects are focused on supporting wildfire hazard mitigation, public education and firefighter training for rural fire departments. Items purchased through these grants include dry hydrants, computers, tablets, GPS units, outdoor signs, and training room equipment and materials.

Locally, the Rome VFD requested funds for tablets, computers, tech items, at a total project cost of $3,644 and with a maximum reimbursement of $1,822.

One unique CWRR project was the cooperative effort between the divisions of Forestry and Parks and Watercraft and local fire departments to install dry hydrants near state park lodge facilities, according to the release. These additional water supply locations will allow local fire departments to provide faster and more effective fire suppression response to their protection areas.

The Division of Forestry’s CWRR grant program allows for cost sharing to help make important ancillary programs, like community outreach, risk reduction and safety campaigns, possible for rural fire departments with very tight budgets and limited resources.

CWRR grant funding was provided to the Division of Forestry through a competitive process via the U.S. Forest Service.