Longietti: $7,000 awarded to equip Shenango firefighters for brushfire risk

HERMITAGE, Aug. 18 – Grant funding of $7,000 will help ensure Shenango Township firefighters are equipped to handle the recurring risk of brush fires that threaten the region, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today.

Longietti, D-Mercer, said the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant to the Shenango Township Volunteer Fire Department will fund training and equipment geared toward meeting the specific challenges posed by fighting fires in dense brush.

“Shenango’s volunteer firefighters are vigilant about fighting brush fires, but the work – which often requires transporting heavy water tanks through dense vegetation – never gets any less dangerous or difficult,” Longietti said. “This spring was no exception, when firefighters braved thorny terrain and other obstacles to contain multiple fires spurred on by dry conditions and high winds.

“With the threat likely to recur as fall brings drier air and fallen leaves, securing this funding now will give first responders a key chance to replenish equipment and renew training so they have the resources needed to stay safe while protecting lives, wildlife and property.”

The funding is part of a package of more than $600,000 in Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants to 109 volunteer fire companies in the state. The grants are administered through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Priority was given to projects that include purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing, but grants may also be used for training, purchasing radios, installing dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation work, and converting and maintaining excess vehicles acquired from the federal government.

More about the grants, including a link to the full list of awardees, is available here, and general information on resources for volunteer fire departments is available here.