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3 local fire departments win federal grants

WASHINGTON – Three Surry County fire departments will split $644,780 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants, according to Today, Tenth District Rep. Patrick McHenry.

The grants will go to the Shoals Volunteer District in Pinnacle, the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department in Pilot Mountain, and Jot-Um-Down Volunteer Fire Department in Elkin. They come in the fourth round of this year’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awards.

“These grants assist local fire departments by enabling them to increase their staffing and deployment capabilities in order to better respond to emergencies whenever they may occur,” McHenry’s office said in announcing the grants. “Local departments apply for the grants from the program which is administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.”

Shoals Volunteer Fire District Inc. was awarded a SAFER Grant of $133,150. Chief Bubba Killgo said that grant funds would be used to purchase new turnout gear for recruits, an LED recruitment and marketing sign, a pay-per-call stipend and other recruitment and retention initiatives.

Westfield Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a SAFER Grant of $163,435. The department will use this grant to fund retention and recruitment programs for volunteer firefighters.

Jot-Um-Down Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a SAFER Grant of $348,195. The department will use this grant to fund retention and recruitment programs for volunteer firefighters.

“Surry County’s fire departments have done an amazing job in this extremely competitive process to receive funding that goes straight back to help protect local lives and property,” McHenry said. “With the rugged terrain and vast areas of forests and state park land, it is important there is a ready and well-equipped fire service to protect these natural treasures and the people who call Surry County home.”

A panel of fire experts at the Department of Homeland Security awards SAFER grants through a competitive review process. McHenry hosts workshops for 10th District EMS and fire departments to help guide personnel through the process and give them an inside view of what the committee looks for.

Jot-Um-Down, Shoals and Westfield are three of six Tenth District departments to receive SAFER funding so far in the FY 2020 grant cycle with a total of $1,454,252 awarded among those departments.

Grants will continue to be announced in weekly rounds throughout the coming months.

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