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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

How to find private donors for fire dept. needs

In this economy, public and private partnerships must be explored and used

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Given the difficulties of securing government funding for firefighting equipment, Chief Adam K. Thiel advises we consider all funding options — including private donors.

I've written plenty about the effects of the ongoing recession on local fire and emergency service organizations. Given the current economic situation in the United States and around the world, it seems likely that fire departments everywhere will need to continue seeking any and all possible options for alternative funding.

Earlier this week I wrote about federal grants, but as this story demonstrates, public-private partnerships also offer avenues for funding equipment, apparatus and sometimes staffing.

In my own departments, we've been able to use partnerships to build stations, buy specialized vehicles, and even hire firefighters.

Beyond our typical partners (such as developers, hospitals, industry, etc.), most communities — like this one in Texas — have a wide range of philanthropic and charitable organizations that, despite also being negatively affected by the fiscal climate, are always seeking opportunities to serve our shared customers.

These organizations can range from local and regional foundations and private charitable trusts to local retailers, restaurants, and other businesses to national and even international foundations.

Many of these groups have never been approached by their local fire departments and may not have any idea about our needs. Getting donations through these organizations always starts with a simple step: ask. You may not be successful at first, but we know that firefighters are nothing if not persistent.

Stay safe!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.

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