Last updated: May 06. 2014 6:40PM - 148 Views

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COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has approved federal grant funding for 53 projects that will assist and improve fire departments and fire associations serving communities with populations under 10,000.

“These grants provide valuable resources to assist local fire departments in providing wildland and rural community fire protection,” said Robert Boyles, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Our commitment to assisting local firefighters in protecting Ohioans and their property while remaining safe themselves has never been stronger.”

Of the nearly 1,300 fire departments within Ohio, approximately 900 are classified as rural and are primarily staffed by volunteers. The average annual budget for an Ohio rural fire department is $35,000 per year, with many fire departments operating on $10,000 or less annually. These Federal Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grants are used to upgrade equipment at existing fire departments and to assist new departments with organizational, training and equipment costs.

Administered by the ODNR Division of Forestry, VFA grants provide up to $10,000 to communities with populations less than 10,000. A local match is required. The ODNR Division of Forestry has recommended 53 fire departments and support organizations in 23 Ohio counties to receive a total of $178,677. These matching grant funds will be used for multi-community projects, such as the conversion of Federal Excess Personal Property into fire apparatus and the purchase of wildland fire slip-in pumper units, Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) radio equipment and wildland fire personal protective equipment.

More than 1,500 rural Ohio fire departments have received assistance since the VFA program was established in 1978.

The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, forest health and tree care, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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