WHEATFIELD — The Kouts Volunteer Fire Department is one of more than 30 fire departments awarded a Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant this year. The department will receive $2,500 to help fund equipment needs, specifically personal protective equipment.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to help equip our local fire departments,” said Jamie Honchar, plant manager at Georgia-Pacific’s Wheatfield Gypsum facility. “These grants express our thanks for their commitment to the people they serve.”
The Bucket Brigade program awarded more than $190,000 in grants to departments this year for equipment critical to firefighters’ safety. Since the program began in 2006, Georgia-Pacific has donated more than $2.75 million in funds and educational materials to hundreds of fire departments that serve the company’s facility communities across the country.
The fire department says the grant will go toward the replacement of personal protective equipment that has exceeded the 10-year lifespan set by the National Fire Protection Association. Each set costs more than $2,000.
“Out of 30 sets of front-line bunker gear, only 20 sets are newer than 10 years old,” said Lieutenant Kevin Salyer. “This grant will help us to respond with properly equipped firefighters on every call.”
Grants are based on department needs and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities. Funds are typically used to purchase new protective clothing and replace items such as damaged safety gear and aging equipment.
Georgia-Pacific also gives all grant applicants free memberships to The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first responders across the nation.
The fire departments receiving grants this year span 15 states where Georgia-Pacific has facilities: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Visit the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade website for more information about the program.