OCEAN PARK - The next time you see District No. 1 firefighters they will be sporting new firefighter protective clothing. Pacific County Fire District No. 1 recently received 53 new sets of vital protective clothing this past week.

The gear cost approximately $110,000 and was purchased through Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), a federal grant program for fire departments. The federal government picked up 95 percent of the cost, while the district only had to pay 5 percent of the costs.

A committee made up of paid, volunteer and safety committee members reviewed several different types of gear over the past several months. The firefighting gear is absolutely essential to ensure that all firefighters are protected during building fires, rescues, and other emergency incidents. Components such as heat resistance, flame impingement, abrasion resistance, longevity, and mobility were weighed carefully before a decision was made.

Division Chief Mike Karvia, Captain Jason Derrey, Lieutenant Kendall Biggs, Firefighter David Allsup and Firefighter Rob Waltemate served on the committee. Firefighter Allsup wrote the grant.

Pacific County Fire District No. 1 was also awarded a $10,000 rural fire assistance program grant to help outfit firefighters with wildland protective equipment.

The grant is funded and administered through the U.S. Department of the Interior in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service and the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Rural fire assistance grants are provided to increase firefighter safety, improve the firefighting capabilities of rural volunteer fire departments, and enhance protection in the urban-wildland interface. The program awards funds to enhance the fire protection capabilities of these departments through training, equipment purchases, and fire prevention work on a cost-shared basis. Fire District No. 1 will provide 10 percent in matching funds for the grant.

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