State Fire Marshal: Newly-awarded grants will help Minnesota fire departments that are 'stretched thin'

Several fire departments across the state can move forward with plans to better serve their communities thanks to grants from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD).

According to the DPS, the SFMD recently awarded a total of $150,000 in Service Planning Grants. The grants range from about $19,000 to just over $36,000. Money for the grants comes from the Fire Safety Account.

"The resources of many local fire departments are stretched thin so these are grants are critical," State Fire Marshal Jim Smith said. "The ultimate goal is providing the best service possible."

More information about each grant recipient follows below:

  • City of Medina: $25,000
    • Funds will be used to hire a fire consultant to study future fire service options that maintain the current level of service in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
  • City of Olivia (for Olivia, Bird Island and Danube fire departments): $25,000
    • Funds will be used to explore how the departments can better serve their communities by being more efficient with available financial, equipment and personnel resources.
  • Eagan and Burnsville fire departments: $36,232
    • Funds will be used to continue implementing suggestions outlined in a study funded by a previous Service Planning Grant. The ultimate goal is consolidation into one fire and emergency medical services district.
  • Fayal/Eveleth/Gilbert fire departments: $19,384
    • Funds will be used to implement an 18-month joint training program, which was recommended in a study funded by a previous Service Planning Grant. Funds will also help pay for legal fees associated with consolidating the three fire departments.
  • Mountain Iron/Virginia fire departments: $19,384
    • Funds will be used to begin the process of merging the departments. Initial steps include standardizing equipment, training and operating procedures.
  • Nobles County: $25,000
    • Funds will be used to study ways to offer collaborative or mutual aid fire services.

"These grants are an invaluable resource for the Minnesota fire service," said SFMD fire service specialist Tate Mills. "Now these projects can go from the planning to the implementation phase—and that is a critical step."