Summit fire department receives homeland security funds |

Summit fire department receives homeland security funds

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Firefighters Denise Drinkhall and Eric Voosen prepare to leave the Donner Summit Fire Station on Thursday afternoon. The department recently won a grant from the federal government's Department of Homeland Security.

Donner Summit Fire Department received a big boost from the Department of Homeland Security last month.The Soda Springs department received a $116,568 operations and fire safety grant from the feds, which amounts to a significant portion of the local agency’s $775,000 budget.”We’re fiscally challenged, and we would not have been able to make these improvements without this funding,” said Donner Summit fire Chief Doug Rinella, who works for the department on a contract with CDF.

Those improvements include protective clothing for firefighters, self-contained breathing apparatuses and radios.The new protective clothing will replace items that are more than 15 years old, which is longer than most fire departments keep gear, Rinella said.The grant, called the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, is the second Donner Summit Fire Department has received since 2002 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

To receive the money, fire departments must submit an application and front 10 percent of the total grant.Donner Summit Fire Department responds to approximately 800 calls each year, roughly 500 of which are medical in nature, Rinella said. The department, which is staffed mostly by volunteers, is a division of the Donner Summit Public Utility District.In October 2003, the utility district asked the Truckee Fire Protection District to provide personnel and administrative services for approximately $600,000 to Donner Summit fire. The agreement would ultimately result in Truckee fire annexing the summit’s department. Discussions on the agreement are scheduled to continue this month.

Donner Summit Fire Department was one of 7,000 departments to receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency this year, including Fallen Leaf Lake Volunteer Fire Department in South Lake Tahoe. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program will award nearly $750 million to departments nationwide in 2004, according to the Department of Homeland Security.”The Assistance to Firefighters grants represent a major effort by the federal government to ensure that the nation’s firefighters continue to have the basic capability they require to do their jobs, improve safety and save lives,” said David Paulison, administrator of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration.Other grant sources for Donner Summit Fire Department include the Bureau of Land Management, the Volunteer Fire Association, Office of Traffic Safety and other foundations.

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