An Ohio senator sponsored the legislation to provide money to assist local fire departments.
POLAND -- Western Reserve Joint Fire District volunteer firefighters will receive training equal to that of career firefighters with the help of a $122,645 federal Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement grant.
Fire Chief David C. Comstock Jr. said volunteers are required to have at least 36 hours of training.
He wants to bring each volunteer in the 65-member force up to the 240-hour standard required for career firefighters.
"The importance of training is twofold," Comstock said. "First, it ensures the effective delivery of service to the residents and, second, it ensures that firefighters will operate safely.
"The better trained a firefighter is, the less chance he or she will get hurt."
Physical exams, too
Comstock said the grant will provide training as well as physical examinations before the training. With the grant, the fire district will contribute 10 percent of the cost.
The announcement that the Poland Fire Department will receive the grant money came Tuesday from the office of U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, a Republican who authored the FIRE bill that passed in 2000. The fund provides grants to assist local departments.
The FIRE fund received $360 million this year. The money is distributed through a new office within the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Of 19,500 departments that applied, 5,500 will be awarded grants.
Funds are earmarked for fire operations and firefighter safety and can be used for training, wellness and fitness, firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment.