COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has distributed wildland fire personal protective equipment (PPE) and tools to rural fire departments to help them be more effective and safer when responding to wildfires. This equipment helps support volunteer fire departments that serve small communities (populations under 10,000) all across Ohio. The total value of the PPE and tools recently distributed was $109,934.27.

Local fire departments benefitting from the program were: Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Department, Vinton Volunteer Fire Department, Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Department, Crown City Volunteer Fire Department and District 2 Joint Fire Department.

“This equipment is crucial in helping Ohio’s rural fire departments safely protect our small communities throughout the state,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester. “The ODNR Division of Forestry is committed to helping our partners at local fire departments with limited budgets effectively and safely protect our woodlands across the state.”

The ODNR Division of Forestry administers this program, with support from the Volunteer Fire Assistance program, which is partially funded through the U.S. Forest Service. Fire departments receiving the clothing and tools were selected through the division’s Wildland Fire PPE and Wildland Fire Tools competitive grant program. This opportunity provides departments with up to 10 complete sets of wildland fire PPE, including lightweight Nomex shirt and pants, a hardhat, goggles and leather gloves, and tools including up to 10 council rakes, three collapsible bladder packs, also known as backpack pumps to fight fires, and one commercial leaf blower.

The PPE provided through this grant meets National Fire Protection Association 1977 requirements, and it assists rural fire departments in complying with Ohio law for firefighter safety. The ODNR Division of Forestry distributed the clothing and tools to 31 fire departments in 14 Ohio counties.

The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.