The San Diego County Board of Supervisors authorized the award of $200,000 of trust fund money for fire protection districts and volunteer fire departments, including $26,345 for the Rainbow Volunteer Fire Department for firefighter turnout gear.
The supervisors’ 5-0 vote March 23 also authorized the director of the county’s Office of Emergency Services to prepare and execute agreements between the county and each of the eight recipient agencies for receipt and use of the grant funds. The Office of Emergency Services director was also authorized to approve agreement amendments.
The county has committed $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds each year for needs of the fire service and an additional $200,000, derived from the savings of refinancing the county’s Otay prison, into a trust fund for the capital needs of fire agencies. Although CDBG funds are restricted to eligible neighborhoods, the trust fund awards have no such restriction. The trust fund awards can also be allocated upon execution of the proper agreements, while the CDBG process also involves submittal to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides funding for the programs. Since 1999 the trust fund has provided more than $1.8 million to fire departments.
Applications for both sources of funding are reviewed by volunteers from the county’s Task Force on Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services, who grade the applications and make recommendations for the entire task force to approve. The task force’s recommendations then go to the supervisors for approval. The task force gave its approval to the recommendations on February 19.
The trust fund money will replace Rainbow Volunteer Fire Department turnout gear which is more than 15 years old, with ten sets of new jackets, pants, helmets, goggles, shrouds, and shelters which will assist the department’s readiness for wildland fire incidents.
The trust fund recipients also include the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, which will receive $31,185 for equipment which will improve the firefighting capabilities of the department’s water tender and brush engine.
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