San Diego County Board of Supervisors awarded $200,000 of trust fund money for fire departments last week, including $30,000 for an emergency generator for the Intermountain Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and $20,754 for wildfire protection equipment for the San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department.
The county has committed $200,000 each year, from the savings of refinancing the county’s Otay prison, into a trust fund for the capital needs of fire agencies. An additional $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds each year is earmarked for needs of the fire service.
Although CDBG grants are restricted to eligible neighborhoods, the trust fund awards have no such restriction. Trust fund money can be allocated upon execution of the proper agreements, while the CDBG process includes a 30-day public review and comment period before final approval and submittal to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the programs.
Since 1999, the trust fund has provided more than $1.6 million to fire departments. Applications for both sources of funding are reviewed by volunteers from the county’s Task Force on Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services, who grade the applications and make recommendations for the entire task force to approve.
The task force’s recommendations then go to the supervisors for approval. The task force on Jan. 23 recommended the supervisors approve the money.
The generator for the Intermountain department will provide emergency power to the fire station in the event of a power outage. The San Pasqual grant will purchase 25 sets of wildland jackets, pants, helmets, goggles, shrouds, and shelters to assist the department’s readiness for wildland fires.