$3.87 Million in Grants Awarded to Rural Fire Departments Statewide

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Forestry Services Division today announced the agency has distributed more than $3.87 million in operational grant funds to 863 rural fire departments across the state.

Funded by the Oklahoma Legislature and authorized by Fallin, these grants assist departments located in communities with a population of less than 10,000 people and can be used for a range of needs.

“With wildfires having devastated huge portions of the state in the last several days, many rural fire departments are low on resources and in need of help,” Fallin said. “These grants will help replace broken equipment and supply firefighters with the resources they need to do their jobs safely. We support our firefighters 100 percent and stand behind them as they work to protect Oklahoma families and communities from the threat of wildfires.”

Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said, “Our state’s leaders recognize the importance of rural fire departments and these grants are timely as fire departments have depleted many resources during the current fire season.”

Funds can be used for the operations and maintenance of the fire department including the purchase, construction, repair and operation of fire stations and fire equipment; firefighter training and the purchase of fuel.

“These operational grants provide valuable assistance to local fire departments in providing wildland and rural community fire protection,” Reese said. “We are committed to helping local fire departments with limited budgets effectively perform their duties.”

Oklahoma Forestry Services also provides equipment and technical advice through the Rural Fire Defense Program. OFS acquires and provides equipment to departments for use in wildfire suppression efforts. Over $17 million in equipment was distributed to fire departments in 2011.

“Such property can be a viable alternative to purchasing new equipment,” stated State Forester George Geissler. “We also offer firefighting supplies cost to rural fire departments across the state. By purchasing many items in bulk quantities and at lower cost, smaller departments receive volume discount savings.”

For more information concerning Operational Grants, Rural Fire Defense or other ODAFF-Forestry Services programs visit www.forestry.ok.gov/rural-fire or call (405) 288-2385.

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