C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2010
CONTACT: Jon Hanian
IDAHO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS RECEIVING GRANT
(BOISE) Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter today announced that the Idaho Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Association (IVFESA) will receive $1.18 million in federal funding to help recruit and retain volunteer firefighters. This direct federal assistance, provided through the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, will help local fire departments throughout the state increase staffing of frontline firefighters.
“First response to emergencies is a necessary and proper role of government, and our volunteer firefighters do outstanding work. Fire departments have been hit hard by tough economic times and budget cuts and we need to ensure they are adequately staffed and equipped to respond to emergencies,” Governor Otter said. “This funding will help local fire departments recruit more volunteer firefighters and improve their emergency response capabilities so they can continue to protect Idaho’s citizens, 24/7.”
“I was very excited to learn of the grant award for the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighter/EMTs,” IVFESA President Chief Kevin Courtney said. “In my many years as a Chief of a volunteer fire and rescue department this has been the largest hurdle to overcome and affects service to our citizens. With this grant we will be able to broaden and streamline our recruiting efforts and enhance service to our citizens. This grant will recruit new volunteers through new advertising and media channels and will provide training to local fire service leaders throughout the state to help with their local recruiting efforts as well.”
The Idaho Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Association was founded in 2006 to represent the approximately 5,500 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians across Idaho. IVFESA membership is comprised of both volunteer and combination fire agencies. IVFESA’s goal is to offer their members education and training workshops, training and equipment grants, the annual training conference, and recruitment and retention information. IVFESA represents Idaho with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and will work to increase the number of volunteer emergency responders serving Idaho communities.
The recruitment and retention of additional volunteer firefighters will help protect thousands of citizens. An increase in volunteer firefighters also will support operational needs, providing adequate staffing to ensure timely emergency response capabilities.
SAFER funding is a competitive grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
“Being a volunteer firefighter is an important and demanding job,” Governor Otter said. “In the current economic climate, it is difficult to recruit and retain good volunteers to perform this work, and this grant will go a long way to increase staffing of Idaho’s fire and rescue companies.”