DARKE COUNTY — A representative of the State of Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office was in West Manchester, Ohio, Monday to present a substantial grant check to Darke County firefighters.
Fourteen fire departments in Darke County will now have more help making their communities safer, thanks to MARCS grants totaling $606,220.46 from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal. The grant, originally announced in March, will allow the departments to purchase equipment and pay user fees for the radio system, which will improve communication efforts between the departments as well as other emergency personnel.
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey visited the Darke County fire chiefs’ meeting Monday evening to award the fire departments with a grant check. He also spoke with firefighters about the numerous benefits of the MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) system.
“This is a system used by many agencies across the state, including our office,” Chief Deputy Hussey said. “That means you’ll be able to talk with responders in this county and others to make sure you’re getting the right resources to an emergency.”
This is the third year that the MARCS grant is benefiting Ohio’s fire service. In June 2016, Governor John R. Kasich approved the allotment of $3 million to be used for the grant.
“Better communication means a better response to emergencies,” Chief Deputy Hussey said. “That directly translates to safer communities, which has an impact on all Ohioans.”
Local fire departments chosen for the grant were selected based on a variety of criteria, including the fire department’s annual budget, annual number of fire incidents and the resident population served by the department.
The State Fire Marshal also awarded $206,586.10 to seven fire departments in Shelby County and $320,938.00 to nine fire departments in Preble County.
The grant to Darke County fire departments comes on the heels of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources donating almost 300 used MARCS radios to Darke County emergency services, including law enforcement, rescue and fire units. This donation will save the county an estimated $650,000 according to Darke County EMA Director Mindy Saylor.
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