Local department receives volunteer fire assistance grant

During July and August, matching funds grant checks for rural fire departments are being distributed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Forestry Division Staff, according to Ben Webster, Wildland Fire Program Supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

168 fire departments are receiving checks for up to $4,000 to help with the purchase of personal protective gear, communications equipment, and wildfire suppression equipment to help increase the fire department’s capacity to suppress wildfires safely and efficiently. 

“The total funding awarded to Missouri fire departments through the matching funds grant program this year is $386,639.14,” according to Webster. 

Fire departments are required to match 50 percent of the funds which are provided by the MDC and U.S. Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. 

“Throughout the last 30 years, over $8 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better fire fighting equipment,” Webster continued.

Fire Chief Warren Weiss says this years grant was used to purchase five new pagers and two new leaf blowers. 

The powerful leaf blowers are used to create a fire break in brush fires. The machines can clear a four to six foot swath at a time according to Deputy Chief Justin Haase.