LSFD lands $300,000 FEMA grant

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The Lake Shastina Fire Department was recently selected for an “extremely competitive” SAFER Grant for more than $300,000 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will pay for a new full time employee, provide personal protective equipment, fund training and provide funding for marketing.

“We feel like we have won the lottery,” said LSFD chief Steve Pappas, who detailed how the public will benefit from the coveted FEMA grant.

The biggest portion of the is going to pay for one full time person plus their benefit package for three years, Pappas said. “This person’s main focus will be on recruitment and retention of firefighters. We hope to find someone who is skilled in marketing and has a fire background. They will also respond to all emergency calls that LSFD is dispatched to while they are on shift.”

LSFD currently has one full time paid staff (Pappas), so essentially the grant is allowing the department to double their full time staffing.

“We will also be receiving $2,500 to go toward media marketing,” Pappas said. “These funds will be used to create a website for the fire department.”

An additional $12,000 will go toward print marketing, including newspaper ads, signs, banners, flyers and brochures.

“We will be allowed to spend $4,000 per year for the next three years under this section,” Pappas said. “Our focus with these funds will be to expose Lake Shastina Fire Department to our community and bring in volunteers of all ages and capabilities.”.”

Another $35,000 of the grant will go toward Structural PPE (personal protective equipment), Pappas explained. The department plans to purchase 10 sets of structure gear for new volunteers that they may bring in.

A total of $6,500 will go toward Wildland PPE and the purchase 10 sets of Wildland Gear for new volunteers.

An additional $12,950 will go toward training costs, Pappas said.

“This will be used to help retain our current firefighters. We have always had a high turn over rate with volunteers. It seems like once we get them trained with all the basics they move on and get a job with CAL FIRE or similar agencies. Our idea is if we can offer volunteers incentive programs such as paying for their EMT classes we can possibly retain them longer.”

Another $1,950 will go toward training for the new full time employee, Pappas added.

“In total we will be receiving $306,367 from FEMA,” said Pappas. “This is a no match grant which means LSFD will not have to contribute any money. The property and home owners of Lake Shastina still pay the same fee for fire services as they did in 1991! Our department has been struggling financially for many years now. Although this grant does not solve all of our financial issues it will definitely be extremely helpful.”

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities, according to FEMA’s website.