Last week, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced that a record amount of funding ($501,184) has been awarded to help Pennsylvanias rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas.
In Fulton County, the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. will receive $3,672. Local firefighting forces in rural areas or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents qualify for the aid. Last year, the grant program awarded more than $494,630 to 177 fire companies across the state.
More than half a million dollars is being distributed to 141 volunteer fire companies in the states rural areas and communities, where forest fires are common, Gov. Rendell said. These funds will allow firefighters to concentrate more on public safety and training rather than having to concern themselves with constant fundraising to keep their local stations open.
Grant recipients were named following review of fire company applications that met a May 2005 deadline. Grants and other assistance are provided through the Department of Conservations Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agricultures Forest Service through the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978.
The key objective is to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Selection of grant recipients is based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection.
Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The bureau will begin accepting 2006 applications next spring.
In neighboring Huntingdon County, the Shade Gap Area Volunteer Fire Co. received $3,750 and the Shavers Creek Valley Community Volunteer Fire Co., Petersburg, received $1,712; in Bedford County, the Chaneysville Volunteer Fire Co. received $7,328, and the Southern Cove Volunteer Fire Co., New Enterprise, received $5,734; and in Franklin County, the following funding was received: Fannett-Metal Fire & Ambulance Co., Dry Run, ($5,801), Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters & Warren Volunteer Fire Co., Mercersburg, ($4,455), and South Mountain Volunteer Fire Co., South Mountain ($1,875).