NOV. 03, 2023 — The Office of the State Fire Marshal awarded much needed funds to 78 fire departments in Kansas through the Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant Program (KFRSG), totaling $400,000. The OSFM made this grant possible through its budget passed by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Laura Kelly.
This year, over $1.3 million was requested by 79 volunteer/part-time fire departments in Kansas for safety gear, washer/extractor machines and firefighter physicals. Departments received over $350,000 to be used for safety gear, $45,000 for 9 washer/extractor machines, and $4,000 for firefighter physicals. Due to the high number of requests, OSFM will be requesting the 2024 Legislature continue funding this important grant.
“This year, I was pleased to see so many departments that applied receive some or all of their requested funds,” Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal, said. “This funding will go a long way in providing these smaller, but vital departments with the gear and equipment they need to continue keeping their communities safe.”
The KFRSG grant has provided 98 washer/extractor machines to departments across Kansas since it’s inception in 2017. Having the proper protocols in place to clean firefighting gear is crucial in preventing exposure to carcinogens, particulates and biohazards that firefighters face every day in their profession.
Volunteer and part-time fire departments face recruitment and retention challenges because they do not have the funding to provide safety equipment. Without new equipment provided by the recruiting fire department, potential volunteers are faced with not only donating their time but also providing their own safety gear, sharing gear with others, or doing without. There is also a proven increase in cancer diagnoses for firefighters, which can be caused by prolonged exposure to carcinogens, particulates, and biohazards. The proper gear, regular cleaning of that gear and equipment, along with preventative healthcare is crucial for a firefighter’s health and well-being.
A list of the departments receiving a Fiscal Year 2024 grant award is included on the next page.
For more information on the Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant Program and a full list of grant recipients, please visit: https://firemarshal.ks.gov/grant