Tuesday morning, Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone announced the department will soon be the recipients of a grant award of $20,000.00 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Fire Protection (FFP) Grant Program.
The grant provides funding for the Merrill Fire Department’s wildland firefighting activities.
The Merrill Fire Department routinely seeks outside funding opportunities to leverage and stretch City and Fire Department funding. Over the last four years the fire department has been awarded more than $36,000 in funding from the DNR Forest Fire Protection Grant Program, in varying amounts to purchase needed equipment including; new firefighting wildland turnout gear, firefighting foam, chain saws, chain saw protective equipment, firefighting gloves and hoods, and dry hydrants supplies for the townships served in the fire district. All the funding from these grants will enhance the response capacity for the fire department, as they work to protect the citizens of the fire response district.
FFP Grant funding is intended to expand the use of local fire departments to augment and strengthen the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) overall initial-attack fire suppression capabilities, on forest fires and wildland fires. Annually, the Merrill Fire Department has responded to various wildland fires.
After conducting an assessment and prioritizing the needs of the Merrill Fire Department, the department sought $2,348.68 for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), tools and equipment to improve its wildland fire operations and firefighter safety programs. Additionally, we are requesting the balance of our available funding, ($17,651.32) to be applied to the purchase of a replacement Type Six Off-Road Fire Engine (Brush Truck). These purchases are planned specifically for wildland firefighting tools & equipment, and personal protective equipment, to increase the safety of our firefighters and their ability to protect the public they serve.
Personal Protection Equipment:
To increase Firefighter Safety and Protection, MFD has included in the request: fire resistant hoods, and ear protection. These items will allow MFD to become safer during operations.
Tools and Equipment:
With the impending purchase of a new off-road brush truck, to increase firefighter efficiency, and update the tools and equipment on the apparatus, the following equipment was requested: 1” and ¾” diameter fire hose, 1” fire hose nozzles, shut off valves, spanner wrenches, combo tool, backpack pump assembly, gated wye and a Pulaski tool with sheaths. These tools, hose and adapters will help to better configure deployment with the new brush truck.
The balance of the supplies requested includes Class A foam for wildland firefighting.
Off Road Vehicles
At the end of this grant cycle, the Merrill Fire Department will be taking delivery of a Type 6 Fire Engine (Brush Truck); this vehicle will be put in service for the 2017 Wildland season. This vehicle is replacing an old vehicle that has extended past its useful life expectancy. The new vehicle will be a locally purchased four wheel drive off road truck chassis. On the new chassis there will be a pump, water tank, foam tank, hoselines, and wildland hand tools.
This Off Road Fire Engine, the supplies, PPE, tools and equipment will make the Merrill Fire Department better prepared for wildland firefighting activities.
“We are extremely grateful the DNR has awarded the Merrill Fire Department this grant funding,” said Savone.
“ With these funds, we will be able to continue our commitment to the protection of the citizens we serve in the rural fire response district.”
The Merrill Fire Department is an all-hazard emergency response organization that provides Fire Protection to the City of Merrill, the Towns of Merrill, Rock Falls and Scott. The Department also provides Advanced Life Support Emergency Medical Services for the southern 59% of Lincoln County including the City of Merrill, the Towns of Birch, Corning, Harding, Merrill, Pine River, Rock Falls, Russell, Schley, Scott and parts of Harrison. The coverage area for EMS is more than 525 square miles with a population in excess of 20,000 residents.