OREGON COUNTY -- Three fire departments in Oregon County recently received matching grants from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Forestry Division staff.
According to Bill Yarber, MDC resource technician, 167 rural fire department across the state received grants including in Oregon County the BB Road, Alton and Rover volunteer fire departments. The monies are to be used to purchase protective clothing and firefighting equipment for structural and natural cover fires.
The BB Road grant of $3,750 was accepted by Fire Chief Sterling Rogers. Rogers reported that his department purchased 10 five-watt hand held radios and two 25-watt mobile radios. MDC applied $1,875 toward the matching grant.
The Alton Volunteer Fire Department was represented by Fire Chief Barry Pfister, Danny Bettis and Herman Holmes. They received $5,239, with the grant money from MDC amounting to $2,593. The fire department bought the following: four hand-held radios, rescue cots, pants, mask, five fire- fighter helmets, 10 sets of fire-fighter gloves, a booster reel with hose, wrenches and a water level kit.
The Rover Volunteer Fire Department received $3,893 in grant money, with MDC matching $1,663 of the funds. Glen Trantham, fire chief, and John Reinmuth, assistant fire chief, accepted the grant money and announced they had purchased the following equipment: three Viper Select 1- and 1/2-inch nozzles, six 50-foot fire hoses, chain, ladder, 6-foot pike poles, Jack Haulgen tool, strainer and gated Y.
The total funding for fire departments in the state amounted to $353,000. Forestry assistant Mack Roberts said fire departments are required to match these funds which are provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the MDC.
In the last 20 years over $3 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment.