RIVER FALLS, S.C. — A check presentation ceremony was held Friday morning at the River Falls Fire Dept., with the agency receiving $4,836.29 in federal grants to improve firefighting capabilities in rural areas.
The S.C. Forestry Commission administers the U.S. Forest Service’s Volunteer Fire Assistance program in the Palmetto State, awarding varying amounts of financial assistance to rural and volunteer fire departments every year. The grants – based on a 50 percent match – are used by the volunteer fire departments to organize, train and equip themselves to prevent and suppress wildfires.
The amount of the awards varies based on need, which is determined through a rigorous application and selection process, according to Forestry Commission officials. The grant application is sent out each year in July and is due the end of September. Each application is reviewed and scored based on values that help the firefighting capability of both the fire department as well as the Forestry Commission. Some of these categories include population, years funded, annual budget and number of wildfires.
River Falls Fire Chief Jason Gordon said the grant money awarded to his department will help purchase chainsaws and new portable radios.
“This money will be put to use in a way that directly serves and impacts the lives and property we protect,” Gordon said. “We are proud to receive this grant and look forward to continuing to work with the SC Forestry Commission in the future.”