CLINTON — The Clinton Fire Department has received a grant in the amount of $27,738 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The grant is an Operations and Safety Program Grant, awarded through the U.S Department of Homeland Security. So far, a total of $1,378,752 in grants was awarded to 21 Iowa fire departments. The grant awards were announced last week through Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office.

“The safety of our communities depends on the ability of firefighters to respond quickly and appropriately,” Grassley said of the grant awards. “These funds will help make sure our fire departments have the equipment and personnel necessary to protect local citizens.”

The Clinton Fire Department is one of 21 fire departments in 19 communities to receive funding through the Operations and Safety Program. The funds can be used to train firefighting personnel, establish wellness and fitness programs for firefighters, purchase protective equipment and improve fire stations and facilities.

Clinton Fire Department Training Officer Andrew McGovern said the funding will be used to enhance the department’s training program and bring the department in compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards for Firefighter I and II, Driver/Operator and Fire Service Rescue Operations levels. The funds will allow the purchase of training packages in the form of computer-based and video programs, testing software and test banks for instructor-led training in each of those three areas.

“Implementation of this project will directly benefit the citizens and visitors of our greater area community by maintaining, or even increasing, the emergency first responder’s abilities to respond to incidents through safety measures and improved training for our individual firefighters by direct delivery training and testing to meet the statutory requirements for initial and continuing firefighter training,” the grant application states.

In the application, McGovern cited budget constraints and a reduction in the local tax base as examples of the financial need for the grant. The application also asserts that Clinton has the worst fire deaths per capita rating and the second highest structure fire rate in Iowa, but notes the fire department has a strategic plan to combat those issues including the fire prevention and education department, local building code initiatives and improving firefighter training to lower those numbers.

“It is the Clinton Fire Department’s desire to improve the safety and well-being of emergency responders and the community by providing firefighters training critical to performing their mission. The acquirement of this equipment and the implementation of these training programs will support this commitment not only for our community but also for our whole region,” the application states. “The new training programs will protect life and property by ensuring a safe, quick, prepared and executed response to incidents in our community.”

McGovern noted that the training programs will allow Clinton firefighters to meet the new 2008 Edition Firefighter I/II requirements and statutory state requirements for initial firefighter training and annual continuing education hours that will be enforced by 2010. He remarked that the programs will not only benefit Clinton firefighters, who currently travel hundreds of miles to attend training classes or must wait for a state training program to become available, but also will benefit surrounding fire departments including 14 Clinton County fire departments, two Jackson County fire departments, three fire departments in Whiteside County and two local industry fire and rescue brigades.

“These mandatory requirements put a strain on our department because of time and budgetary constraints, now we’ll be able to fulfill those needs ourselves,” said McGovern. "This will also enhance our abilties when working with surrounding communities since we will be able to all train to the same national standard using the same curriculum."

Of the $27,738, the federal share is 90 percent or $24,965 and the local match is 10 percent or $2,773.

On behalf of the fire department, McGovern expressed gratitude toward the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and the grant selection committee for awarding Clinton the much-needed funds for this training program.

“This project will have a future impace on the city’s ISO rating too, which will in turn, benefit local business and industry insurance rates,” he said. “We certainly appreciate this funding, because without this grant program, we wouldn’t be able to do any of these things.”

McGovern added that the department is grateful for the continued support of city leaders as the fire department strives to improve services to the community.

“This project would not have been possible without the support of the city council and city administrator providing the local match for these grants,” McGovern said.

This Week's Circulars