CHILLICOTHE, OH - Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department in Adams County has received a three-quarter-ton cargo trailer, five pairs of firefighter boots and two fire hose nozzles with an original value of more than $3,000, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). In the past three years, the department also received nearly $45,000 in additional equipment.
The fire equipment is being made available by the U.S. Forest Service's Federal Excess Personal Property program, which provides vehicles and other fire fighting equipment to rural fire departments at no charge. The program is administered in Ohio by ODNR.
This program helps local fire officials obtain important fire fighting equipment they might not otherwise be able to purchase, said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. The average budget for an Ohio rural fire department is $24,000 per year, with many fire departments operating on $5,000 or less annually.
Of the nearly 1,300 fire departments within Ohio, some 900 are classified as rural and are primarily staffed by volunteers.
The Division of Forestry currently has cooperative wildfire suppression agreements with 325 fire departments located within the division's fire protection area (eastern and southeastern Ohio). At this time, the program is available to fire departments located within this fire protection area.
Since July 1996, more than $6,000,000 worth of equipment has been acquired and loaned to local fire departments by the ODNR Division of Forestry.
Items obtained through the federal program are provided to fire departments under a loan agreement. When the equipment is no longer useable or desired, the fire department must return it to the Division of Forestry for disposal or reassignment.
Equipment loaned through the program has included fire engines, tanker trucks, pickups, vans, portable generators and pumps, compressors, hoses, nozzles, protective clothing, and safety equipment.
Fire departments interested in additional information or in participating in the program need to complete a Federal Excess Property Request Form available at their local state forest office or by contacting Rick Maier, FEPP Program Coordinator, ODNR Division of Forestry, 345 Allen Ave., Chillicothe, Ohio, 45601, or by phone at 740-773-1574.