New Mexico volunteer fire departments secure significant grant funding

October 31, 2023
firefighter recruits

Five volunteer fire departments in Curry County awarded over $1.6 million

Five of the volunteer fire departments in Curry County, New Mexico, have successfully secured more than $1.6 million from the New Mexico Fire Protection Grant for the fiscal year 2024.

Breaking down the Fire Protection Fund

The Fire Protection Fund (FPF) serves primarily to finance the State Fire Marshal’s Office operations.

The remaining sum is distributed among the fire departments of New Mexico.

Allocation of these funds partially depends on Insurance Services Office (ISO) ratings, while the rest is redirected to the Fire Protection Grant Fund.

The Fire Grant Council, comprising seasoned firefighters from throughout New Mexico, holds responsibility for overseeing this grant fund and evaluating the submitted applications.

Details on the departmental grant distribution

Here’s a closer look at how the funds have been allocated this cycle:

  • Field Fire Department: Allocated $400,000 to finance facility upgrades, including the addition of a new truck bay to accommodate the new apparatus set to arrive soon.
  • Ranchvale Fire Department: Granted $398,681.05 to fund facility enhancements, such as a new pull-thru truck bay for easier water tanker parking and overall improvements in the station’s surrounding grounds and parking spaces.
  • Pleasant Hill Fire Department: Set to receive $250,000 for facility improvements, including a new truck bay for their upcoming water tanker and a fresh administration office.
  • Countyline Fire Department: Designated $280,000 for the purchase of a new wildland fire truck, which will augment their fleet, bringing their total to two wildland trucks to tackle grass fires in their district.

Additionally, the Curry County Administration will receive two grants.

The first, amounting to $3,970, will go towards replenishing the stipend grant fund, while the second, worth $300,000, will be used for the establishment of a communication tower to enhance connectivity in the southern part of Curry County.

Statements from the Fire and Safety Director

Michael Booth, the Fire and Safety Director, commented on the achievement: “The volunteer fire chiefs did most of the leg work in acquiring what they wanted and getting the quotes and specs needed for the grants.”

He further stated: “The chiefs and their members realize the opportunities grants offer the departments, and that the departments would not be as functional and responsive to the emergencies of their communities and to the county without the assistance of grant funds for the purchase of these necessary items.”

FSJA Comment

The recent allocation of over $1.6 million in grant funds to volunteer fire departments in Curry County underscores the vital role that such grants play in bolstering the resources of local firefighting units.

As the Fire and Safety Director aptly pointed out, these funds pave the way for departments to enhance their operational capabilities, thereby ensuring the safety and security of their respective communities.

The commitment shown by the volunteer fire chiefs in procuring these funds demonstrates their unwavering dedication to the people they serve.

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