January 23, 2024
$1.6 Million in Emergency Services Grants Awarded to Local Fire Protection Agencies
The County Commissioners, with support from the Sheriff, have approved $1,663,320 in awards for the first round of grants from the Emergency Services Sales & Use Tax. The proceeds will help to improve radio communications countywide, a priority identified after the Marshall Fire, and provide needed equipment to rural and mountain fire districts.
- Boulder County is giving money to fire protection districts in rural and mountain areas.
- The money comes from a tax that people voted for in 2022 and which was first collected in 2023.
- To receive this information in another language, call or email Barb Halpin at 720-564-2830 or email@example.com.
Boulder County, Colo.—The Boulder County Commissioners have authorized the distribution of $1,663,320 in awards for the first round of grant allocations from the Emergency Services Sales & Use Tax approved by voters in 2022 as County Issue 1B.
Revenues from the tax were first collected in 2023 to help provide financial assistance to underfunded or under-resourced organizations that provide emergency services—such as firefighting and search and rescue—in the rural and mountain areas of Boulder County.
“We are pleased to award this new source of funding to our first responders and firefighters who perform critical, life- and property-saving work—all year round, all around the county—with very limited resources,” said Boulder County Commissioner Marta Loachamin. “The voters of Boulder County made money available and now a community advisory group has helped recommend funding to fill some of the gaps in resources for preparedness and emergency response.”
A total of six grants were approved for individual agency's financial assistance needs as well as the fulfillment of a countywide request for dual band radios for every mountain and rural fire district in Boulder County that requested them. The awards were recommended by the Emergency Services Grant Program Advisory Committee, a volunteer group of nine Boulder County residents with extensive emergency service, firefighting, and search and rescue experience.
For this first round of grants, the Emergency Services Advisory Committee was tasked with making funding recommendations for fire protection districts that serve the mountain and rural areas of Boulder County. A second round of grants will be offered this spring to search and rescue and trail safety organizations in Boulder County.
The Boulder County Commissioners, with support from the Boulder County Sheriff, approved the grants for six separate organizations: 1) Boulder County Firefighter's Association, 2) Gold Hill Fire Protection District, 3) Indian Peaks Fire Protection District, 4) Hygiene Fire Protection District, 5) Lafayette Fire Department, 6) Sunshine Fire Protection District.
1) Boulder County Firefighter's Association
- Unified Agencies Radio Equipment Grant – $1,292,359
Enhanced, coordinated radio communications are critical in widespread co-responder incidents that require immediate and sustained emergency response from urban, mountain, and rural (plains) agencies. Following the Marshall Fire in 2021, firefighting and law enforcement agencies from around Boulder County identified the need for better, unified communications for all responding agencies.
The Unified Agencies Radio Equipment Grant will provide enough dual-band radios to outfit every vehicle and designated location for all rural and mountain fire protection districts (FPDs) in Boulder County. Having the ability to switch between mountains and plains frequencies, which perform on different platforms, will improve communications for all responders throughout the county.
2) Gold Hill Fire Protection District
- Gold Hill Hose and Life Safety Equipment – $78,186
Gold Hill requested equipment to help improve the fire district’s response to residential health and safety calls (e.g., gas detection, structure fires, etc.) while improving the district’s ability to cooperate effectively with other fire districts in mutual aid situations.
3) Indian Peaks Fire Protection District
- Lifepak Defibrillator – $36,297
Indian Peaks Fire Protection District covers popular recreational areas in western Boulder County, including the U.S. Forest Service properties of Brainard Lake and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Responding to accidents or sudden illnesses within the district requires essential emergency medical equipment. A new defibrillator will better equip Indian Peaks’ EMS responders to respond to heart attacks and other emergencies involving district residents or visitors to the area.
4) Hygiene Fire Protection District
- Hygiene Fire Bunker Gear – $56,200
Hygiene’s award will outfit ten recently hired firefighters with new bunker gear. Bunker gear is essential personal protection equipment (PPE) for firefighters who wear it during training and when responding to calls. It is designed to protect firefighters from the heat, flames, and other hazards of the job.
5) Lafayette Fire Department
- Technical Rescue Equipment – $96,368
While not a rural fire agency itself, the Lafayette Fire Department was awarded a grant for technical rescue equipment that can be deployed anywhere in Boulder County. Special technical rescue equipment is required when responding to urgent, life-threatening events such as building, bridge, or ditch collapses. In these instances, time is of the essence to save lives and prevent greater injury. Outfitting Lafayette’s responders with this equipment (the City of Lafayette has invested in a truck and training for a special tech rescue crew) will allow faster responses to the southeast portion of Boulder County and when additional resources are needed anywhere in the county, including rural, mountain, and plains locations.
6) Sunshine Fire Protection District
- Apparatus Improvements and Capital Equipment – $103,910
Sunshine applied for equipment to better respond to local and mutual aid calls. An improved braking system for their main apparatus to help with steep mountainous inclines and declines, a UTV for paramedics and firefighters to access off-road accidents and emergencies, and money towards a fire chief’s on-call response vehicle were included in their funding request.
For More Information
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Residents are encouraged to sign up for Boulder County Everbridge alerts to receive messages about imminent wildfire threats and other hazards. Multiple improvements have been made to the alert and warning systems used by the 911 dispatch centers in Boulder County. Improvements include the introduction of the ReachWell translation app, which provides emergency alerts in over 100 languages/dialects. Visit the Sheriff’s Office Media Advisory for details.