MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION
Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
785-296-3403
jill.p.bronaugh@ks.gov
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Press Releases

2017 Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant program

OSFM | Jul 14, 2017

firefighter in bunker gearNow in its second year, the Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant programmade possible with the State of Kansas budget passed by the state Legislature and signed by Governor Sam Brownback, aims to assist volunteer and part-time fire departments across the state with firefighter safety and recruitment.

Grants issued through the Kansas Firefighter Recruitment and Safety Grant (KFRSG) program will covers the costs of safety gear for new firefighters and physical examinations for firefighters whose physicals are not covered by their departments. It will also provide funds for the purchase of new washer-extractor machines used to clean bunker gear following a fire, with further funds available for the creation of Explorer programs to attract youth volunteers into the fire service.

This grant program, administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, includes $200,000 from the Fire Marshal Fee Fund. 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.

Safety gear which can be purchased through this grant program based on a proven and demonstrated need includes bunker gear, fire helmets, fire boots, and new masks for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units for new department members.

This grant program not only addresses safety of firefighters, but their health as well. The OSFM provides grants to local firefighters to assist in paying for physical examinations not otherwise covered by their departments. A physical examination by a doctor could identify underlying health issues and, hopefully, decrease the number of health-related deaths. 

The OSFM also uses grant funds to purchase and strategically place washer-extractor machines throughout the state. It is vital to the health of firefighters to properly clean bunker gear following a fire to prevent the transfer of carcinogens, particulates and biohazards to firefighters, and those they serve. Further, as more and more particles attach to protective gear and chemicals remain on clothing, that gear gradually loses its effectiveness—putting firefighters at increased risk.

As a key goal for the KFRSG program is firefighter recruitment, providing funding for the start of Explorer programs offers a great way for local fire departments to give the youth of their area an opportunity to explore both career and voluntary opportunities in the fire service. Volunteer and part-time fire departments will be able to apply for funding to cover the initiation fees for the Explorer program or the National Volunteer Fire Council National Junior Firefighter Program, plus a $100 start-up fund.

Grant applicants must be established and recognized volunteer or part-time Kansas fire departments in good standing with OSFM (must be current with NFIRS reporting) or a firefighter in good standing with their local fire department. All safety gear purchased through the program would become the property of the requesting department and not of the individual for which it was requested.

Applications are available at FireMarshal.ks.gov/KFRSG. The deadline for submission to receive funds during this budget year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) is October 2, 2017 and funding will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is the hope of the Fire Marshal’s office to make this grant program available each year.