Two local fire departments received some monetary help Wednesday from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The Granby Fire Department and the East Newton Fire Protection District received $1,412.50 and $2,891, respectively. The funds were awarded at the Granby Fire Department.
“These are Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Grant Program,” said Terry Cook, forestry resource technician with the conservation department. “They applied for it in the wintertime. It goes before a committee, they look at all of the grants, determine who had the worst needs and then it is passed out accordingly. It is a 50/50 match.”
Fire chief for Granby and the East Newton Fire Protection District Kevin Johnson was pleased and honored to receive the checks.
“On the Granby one, we bought 1,200 feet of fire hose,” he said. “And for the [East Newton] district, we bought four mobile repeaters and six pagers.”
This was not the first time that the departments have received help from the conservation department. According to Johnson, in the past, they have received some bunker gear, and a portable pump.
A total of 177 fire departments are receiving checks for up to $4,000, to help them with the purchase of personal protective gear and firefighting equipment.
“These are the guys that are the first line of defense against any fires: structure, wild land, whatever,” said Cook. “And people need to realize, these people don’t get paid, this is volunteer. When it comes to us helping them, it tickles us to death because we are here to assist or mutually aid them. We help them. Thirty years ago, it was the other way around, but now it has changed, all of these fire departments around here, they are the first line of defense against any wild land fire and they will call us if they need any help.”
Cook said the conservation department is pleased to help.
“And anything that we can do to help them get this money to help to their job better and safer, we will be the first one in line to help,” he said.
Throughout the last 30 years, more than $7.5 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment. This year, the total funding awarded to Missouri fire departments throughout the matching funds grant is $378,665.
“We greatly appreciate it,” said Johnson.