GFFR receives grant for safety equipment

City Commissioners will consider during their Sept. 20 meeting whether to accept a $99,545.45 grant for Great Falls Fire Rescue.

The grant is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the purchase of self contained breather apparatus equipment and cylinders.

GFFR was notified earlier this month that it had been awarded partial funding of its original request for the equipment to replace the operational equipment that has surpassed its service life.

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“The amount of equipment needed surpasses the capabilities of the city’s normal budgetary process and is needed to replace aging equipment to maintain fire and EMS operations,” according to GFFR.

If commissioners accept the grant, FEMA will pay 90 percent and the city will pay 10 percent, or $9,954.55, for the total cost of $109,500.

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GFFR has not been able to replace a large amount of its specialty equipment and safety gear due to increasing costs. The department has a budget line of $50,000 for safety equipment, but the amount of equipment replacement needed exceeds that cost, according to GFFR.

The department has used that line item to match other successful grants for safety equipment, according to GFFR.

During the most recent budget process, it was recommended and commissioners approved GFFR to purchase up to $25,650 of SCBA cylinders to replace those that had failed during their inspection through one-time use federal COVID relief funds from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.

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GFFR is combining those ARPA funds with the FEMA grant to replace all decommissioned cylinders and stock their reserve apparatus, according to the staff report.

If commissioners approve acceptance of the grant, GFFR will request a quote and begin a purchase order through the city’s purchasing cooperative group since prices are set to increase Oct. 1, according to GFFR.