Boulder County allocates $1.6 million in grants to enhance emergency services

January 26, 2024

Boulder County, Colorado, has initiated a significant boost to its emergency services capabilities with the allocation of $1.6 million in grants.

The funds, derived from the Emergency Services Sales & Use Tax approved by voters in 2022, are intended to enhance the resources and effectiveness of local fire protection agencies, particularly in rural and mountain areas.

Details of the grant allocation

The Boulder County Commissioners, in collaboration with the Sheriff’s office, have sanctioned the disbursement of $1,663,320 as part of the first tranche of the grant program.

These awards will primarily focus on improving radio communications across the county, a need identified in the aftermath of the 2021 Marshall Fire, and providing essential equipment to fire districts in less urbanized regions.

Boulder County Commissioner Marta Loachamin emphasized the community’s role in this initiative: “We are pleased to award this new source of funding to our first responders and firefighters who perform critical, life- and property-saving work—all year round, all around the county—with very limited resources.”

She further highlighted that the funding is a direct result of voter decision and advisory group recommendations, aimed at bridging resource gaps in emergency preparedness and response.

Breakdown of the grant recipients

The grant program, overseen by an advisory committee composed of Boulder County residents with extensive emergency service experience, has selected six beneficiaries for this round:

  1. Boulder County Firefighter’s Association: Awarded $1,292,359 for Unified Agencies Radio Equipment, this grant will provide dual-band radios to every vehicle and designated location for rural and mountain fire districts. This enhancement will ensure seamless communication between diverse response agencies across the county.
  2. Gold Hill Fire Protection District: Receiving $78,186, this grant will procure life safety equipment, including gas detection and firefighting gear, to improve the district’s response to residential emergencies and facilitate mutual aid collaboration.
  3. Indian Peaks Fire Protection District: With an allocation of $36,297, the district will acquire a new defibrillator, vital for responding to medical emergencies in the area’s popular recreational zones.
  4. Hygiene Fire Protection District: Granted $56,200 to equip ten newly hired firefighters with essential bunker gear, crucial for their safety during response operations.
  5. Lafayette Fire Department: Awarded $96,368 for technical rescue equipment, this grant will enhance the department’s capability to respond quickly to life-threatening situations throughout Boulder County, including rural and mountain areas.
  6. Sunshine Fire Protection District: Receives $103,910 for apparatus improvements and capital equipment, focusing on enhanced mobility and response efficiency in challenging terrains.

Future rounds and community engagement for Boulder County

Boulder County plans a second round of grants in the spring, targeting search and rescue and trail safety organizations.

The county encourages residents to sign up for Boulder County Everbridge alerts for timely information on imminent threats and other hazards, as well as updates on the Emergency Services Grant Program.

FSJA Comment

The allocation of $1.6 million in emergency services grants by Boulder County represents a proactive step towards strengthening the region’s response capabilities, particularly in rural and mountain areas.

The focus on enhancing radio communications and equipping first responders with essential gear addresses crucial needs identified in the wake of the Marshall Fire.

This initiative reflects a strategic approach to resource allocation, guided by experienced advisory committees.

As Boulder County prepares for future rounds of funding, the commitment to improving safety and preparedness across diverse landscapes sets a precedent for other regions facing similar challenges.

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