PIERRE, S.D. – November 30, 2023 – 251 South Dakota volunteer fire departments from across the state have been awarded grants totaling $5 million in funding for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Earlier this year, the South Dakota Legislature passed and Governor Noem signed HB1127 appropriating state general funds to the Department of Public Safety creating the grant program to support local volunteer fire departments.
“Volunteer fire departments play a crucial role in safeguarding communities and ensuring public safety by providing rapid response and dedicated service in emergencies,” said State Fire Marshal, Paul Merriman. “They serve as a vital backbone of the state’s overall firefighting and disaster management infrastructure. Regular financial support is critical to ensuring their safety and readiness.”
Volunteer fire departments purchase and maintain personal protective equipment for their firefighters. This grant program will help departments purchase new and replacement PPE to protect their firefighters.
PPE includes items such as bunker gear, boots, gloves, wildland firefighting apparel, and self-contained breathing apparatus.
“This funding will have a significant impact for departments statewide that have encountered budget and fundraising challenges,” said Charlie Kludt, President of the South Dakota Firefighters Association. “The funding is very much appreciated and will be put to good use.”
Seventy-five percent of eligible volunteer fire departments participated in the program and received awards ranging from $720 to $40,500 depending on their application and need. The grant program is administered by the South Dakota Firefighters Association and the Department of Public Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal.