JRFD receives grant to help it to train and growLooking to expand to 36 firefighters by this time in 2016, the Jamestown Rural Fire Department got a big boost Thursday when it announced it had received a $49,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
Looking to expand to 36 firefighters by this time in 2016, the Jamestown Rural Fire Department got a big boost Thursday when it announced it had received a $49,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The JRFD is the only department in the state to receive the 2011 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program grant from FEMA, according to Jakob Barnard, training officer with JRFD.
The grant is considered as part of the 2011 fiscal year because that was when the request was originally written and considered by FEMA — although not officially awarded until this past week.
“Due to lack of funding, we actually were turned down for this grant in August, but got the call this past week saying that there was going to end up being enough funding, so we were really excited to have this,” said Barnard, who along with Chief Rich Woehl and Assistant Chief Brian Paulson wrote the grant proposal.
According to FEMA’s wesbite, the SAFER program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer fire interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in their communities.
As for the JRFD, it will go a long way over the next four years to recruiting and retaining firefighters.
“Volunteers everywhere are hard to come by, so we want to try and not only recruit new members to our department but use these funds to help current members continue pursuing more training and education,” Paulson said.
The normal match rate on rural department grants from FEMA is 5 percent, but this particular grant requires no match from the JRFD.
The department plans to set up a per-year budget for the $49,000 over the next four years, with the goal of going from 26 active firefighters and four apprentices currently to a full, active roster of 36 by this time in 2016.
“We’re trying to be as progressive as we can, and we’re always aiming for that goal of providing the best firefighters for this community,” Barnard said.
Some of the grant funds will be used for marketing and advertising to recruit new members by offering to help defer costs on items such as gear, uniforms and training. The other portion will go toward existing members for a continuing education scholarship and a rewards program.
Paulson and Barnard said they would ideally like to add the additional eight firefighters prior to this time in 2016, and believe these grant funds will help toward doing just that.
For more information about the SAFER program or the Jamestown Rural Fire Department, visit www.jrfd.org.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com