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Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133
Three fire departments in West Marin which have mutual aid agreements with the National Park Service have been awarded $34,000 in grants through the Rural Fire Assistance Program (RFA). Point Reyes National Seashore Superintendent Don Neubacher stated, "These grants provide critical funding to ensure we have the best service and fire protection possible for the community. We appreciate the incredible efforts of the West Marin fire departments."
The RFA grant program, which is part of the National Fire Plan, provides funding to rural and volunteer fire departments for training, equipment, and fire prevention activities, to support their involvement in wildland firefighting near or on U.S. Department of the Interior lands.
A total of $11,134 has been approved for Bolinas Fire Protection District (FPD); $13,277 for Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department (VFD); and $10,220 for Inverness Volunteer Fire Department (VFD). The funding approved for Bolinas FPD is for personal protective equipment, fire shelters and digital radio accessories. Nicasio VFD received funding for personal protective equipment, fire shelters, fire hose and two digital radios and accessories. Inverness VFD received funding for five digital radios and accessories.
The personal protective equipment received by Bolinas and Nicasio includes helmets, fire resistant jackets and pants, gloves, head lamps, goggles, and fire packs, as well as new generation fire shelters. The new fire shelters, which were released in 2003, have an improved design based on advances in fire science and lessons learned from past firefighter entrapments. Without the RFA grants, it would be difficult for many of the rural fire departments across the country to upgrade to the expensive new fire shelters.
Joe Runyon, Chief of Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department said the RFA grant has allowed Nicasio to replace old, worn out fire hose which had failed a water pressure test -more- earlier this spring. "It was very good to get that hose off of the rigs," Runyon said.
The digital radios that Nicasio and Inverness will receive are compatible with new national Project 25 (P25) communication standards that have been developed for public safety applications at all levels of government. Local fire departments in Marin County will need these new "P25 compliant" radios to communicate with the National Park Service and Cal Fire during a wildland fire. P25 is a compressed narrowband system which allows more channels and interoperability between users of two-way wireless communications devices.
"The RFA grants are all about improving safety for the fire departments that support us," said Roger Wong, Fire Management Officer for Point Reyes National Seashore. "Whether its radios or other fire gear, we want to be sure they have the right equipment to help us when we have a wildland fire. With 90,000 acres to manage at Point Reyes alone, our local fire departments play a key role in our fire program."