U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced that USDA is investing $95,000 for public safety equipment in the city of Welcome.

Modern, safe infrastructure is the bedrock of any community, especially when it helps protect emergency service providers,” Finstad said. “Whether it’s replacing expired fire protective gear for volunteer firefighters or purchasing a modern ambulance vehicle, all these things contribute to the economic prosperity of rural America. Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is dedicated to assisting rural communities like Welcome with their long-term commitments to economic prosperity; because when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”

The city of Welcome will use a $50,000 Community Facilities Grant to replace expired protective equipment for the Welcome Fire Department. The fire department has 26 volunteer firefighters, and the existing equipment includes 13 self-contained breathing apparatus and 26 air cylinders that are expired according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. This project will help the department purchase new equipment to replace what is expired, as well as 26 masks with head’s up display technology.

The city of Welcome will also use a $45,000 Community Facilities Grant to replace expired turnout gear for the Welcome Fire Department’s 26 volunteer firefighters. The existing gear is expired according the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) standards of replacement every ten years. This project will help to purchase 26 new sets of gear, including boots, pants, coats, hoods, gloves, and helmets with face shields. Both projects will ensure the continued safety of the department’s firefighters and their ability to provide efficient emergency services for the city’s nearly 700 residents.

Funding for today’s announcement was made available through the $150 million in grants included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019. These grants are to help eligible rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of natural disasters.