Fire departments are an important part of any community, there to not only help fight fires but also work automobile wrecks, go on medical calls, and even conduct fire prevention education in local schools and daycare centers. This year, the Flomaton Fire Department in Alabama was in jeopardy of not being able to perform these important services for their community; until the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade program offered assistance.

Financial troubles threaten safety and efficacy

In operation since 1908, the Flomaton Fire Department serves a community of about 6,000 people and receives upwards of 600 calls per year. The fire department’s commitment to serve the community can be difficult when funds from the city are tight due to a down economy. 

The past couple of years have been extremely difficult financially, according to Fire Chief Steve Stanton, who has been with the Flomaton Fire Department since 1975. Chief Stanton says that this year’s need for turnout gear has been the biggest since he has been with the fire department.

Turnout gear, the outer layer of protective clothing that firefighters wear when they are putting out fires, is both extremely important and quite expensive. Without it, the firefighters are unable to perform some functions of the job. Many small rural fire departments that don’t have turnout gear are unable to fight house fires because of the danger involved.

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Georgia-Pacific Foundation offers assistance, supports community

Chief Stanton wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation until he heard about the Bucket Brigade grant, a program of the Georgia-Pacific Foundation. The foundation awards grants to fire departments in need within communities where there are Georgia-Pacific facilities—in this case, the Brewton containerboard mill. Chief Stanton heard about the grant and, although doubtful, thought it was worth a shot. 

In October 2010, to Chief Stanton’s surprise, The Flomaton Fire Department was awarded a Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant of $10,000, almost the exact amount needed to purchase new turnout gear for the firemen.

Because of this generous grant to cover the cost of gear, the Flomaton Fire Department was able to continue to fund their annual community outreach program of donating Christmas presents to three local families in need. Chief Stanton had been worried that they wouldn’t be in a position to donate. However, with the support of the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant, the Flomaton Fire Department was able to continue the cherished holiday tradition.

For more information, visit http://www.gp.com/aboutus/bucketbrigade/index.html