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OH/PA Regional Discussion => Mahoning Valley Discussion => Topic started by: yfdgricker on May 09, 2011, 11:36:59 AM

Title: Fire district to receive $537K for volunteers [Poland, Ohio]
Post by: yfdgricker on May 09, 2011, 11:36:59 AM
Fire district to receive $537K for volunteers
Story by Ashley Luthern from the Youngstown Vindicator on 5/9/2011.

POLAND - The Western Reserve Joint Fire District will receive $537,440 from a federal grant to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters.

“Our training is excellent, but there’s no substitute for experience,” said Chief David C. Comstock Jr., referring to the district’s goal to retain firefighters.

The funds were awarded during round 19 of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program announcement. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration, according to a news release.

The district has about 75 volunteer firefighters, and 38 of them have more than five years of experience, Comstock said.

He added that over the last three years, 28 firefighters have left the department, while 33 have joined.

In the grant application, Comstock emphasized “the difficulty that volunteer fire departments have in getting people to be available for daytime hours. ... In order to reduce turnover, we propose using [the grant] to provide tuition for higher education at Youngstown State University.”

Comstock said the grant will fund eight four-year scholarships to YSU. High school and college students living in Poland will get first priority for applications, and then students in neighboring communities.
 
“Each student receiving the scholarship will be required to volunteer at least eight hours per week” with the department, and those eight hours must be during the day, the chief said. The students also will receive paramedic training.

With the students’ service, Comstock said, it would effectively add another daytime on-call firefighter and make it easier to ensure four firefighters are on a fire engine, as National Fire Protection Association standards recommend.

Each year for the next four years, the grant will provide $125,000 for tuition assistance, about $5,000 for a program coordinator and about $5,000 for marketing, he said.

Last week, voters approved a 1-mill additional levy. The district’s board of trustees has said the money from that levy will be used only for capital projects, such as purchasing fire engines.
Title: Re: Fire district to receive $537K for volunteers [Poland, Ohio]
Post by: Engine33Truck on May 09, 2011, 02:51:15 PM
In the midst of hearing about cities closing houses and laying off firefighters, here's a welcome article of good news! Cheers! :D