Many of us drive past our local fire department and likely feel a sense of safety and comfort knowing that we’re being protected by brave men and women every day. But did you know that 70 percent of firefighters across the country are volunteers? Many fire departments also rely on fundraisers like barbeques, bingo and bake sales to help fund basic safety equipment to do their jobs.
Georgia-Pacific’s Bucket Brigade grant program for fire departments was created to help fill this gap in our facility communities across the country. This year the program gave grants totaling $235,500 across 19 states.
For one grant recipient, the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department in Bradford, Pennsylvania, vital fundraising efforts have been hit hard.
“Because of the downturn in local business, we have fewer choices to raise money,” says Bradford Fire Chief Dan Burkhouse. “More and more of the funds we raise are needed for day-to-day operating expenses, which doesn’t leave enough money for the safety equipment required for firefighters to train and respond to calls.”
The Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $5,000 Bucket Brigade grant to help purchase bunker gear – firefighters’ protective clothing – which will allow them to put two additional firefighters out for emergency calls in their community.
The fire department serves the area around Georgia-Pacific’s corrugated plant in Bradford, and is one of 50 departments receiving Bucket Brigade grants this yea r. Since the program started in 2006, we’ve proudly given more than $1.5 million to fire departments in our facility communities.
“The majority of fire departments in the U.S. are volunteer and they struggle to maintain basic preparedness levels,” said Heather Schafer, CEO of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants enable departments to obtain equipment so that they can protect lives and property in their local communities. We applaud Georgia-Pacific’s willingness to give back to those who serve.”
Serving the community is what the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department does best. From providing free fire safety demonstrations to local schools and senior citizens’ groups, to conducting fire drills and fire extinguisher training to local businesses, interacting with the community is keeping Bradford safer.
Our Bradford plant has had a long and established relationship with the fire department. “They spend several hours reviewing emergency plans and provide recommendations that will enhance both the safety of our employees and our facility,” said Steve Disney, director of operations at Georgia-Pacific’s Bradford plant. “The level of dedication is remarkable. The professionalism and pride they display is also a great example to our employees.”
We congratulate the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department and all first responders keeping our communities safe!