CHILLICOTHE, OH - Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Department in Ross County has received a 1985 Chevrolet four-wheel-drive truck with an original value of nearly $16,000 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The fire equipment is being made available by the U.S. Forest Service's Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) program, which provides vehicles and other fire fighting equipment to rural fire departments at no charge. The ODNR Division of Forestry administers the program in Ohio.
"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 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 FEPP program is available to fire departments located within this fire protection area.
Items obtained through the federal program are provided to local fire departments under a loan agreement. When the equipment is no longer useable or desired, the fire department must return it to the ODNR Division of Forestry for disposal or reassignment. Since July 1996, local fire departments in Ohio have acquired more than $7,000,000 worth of equipment through the program, including fire engines, tanker trucks, pick-up trucks, 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 should complete a FEPP request form available at their local state forest office. They may also contact Rick Maier, FEPP Program Coordinator, ODNR Division of Forestry, 345 Allen Ave., Chillicothe, Ohio, 45601. Phone: 740-773-1574.