ATLANTA, Oct. 9, 2012 – Imagine fighting a building fire with gardening gloves or walking into a 1,000°F-degree room with threadbare boots. Now, imagine voluntarily taking these risks without being paid. This exemplifies the fierce commitment of volunteer firefighters, yet many departments lack funds to purchase specialized gear and replace outdated equipment.
Georgia-Pacific’s Bucket Brigade™ grant program rewards this dedication to serve by supporting local fire departments. This year, $165,000 in grants were recently awarded to 25 U.S. fire departments to purchase equipment necessary to protect the lives and property of residents, and keep firefighters safe.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for firefighters who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our communities safe,” said Jim Hannan, chief executive officer and president of Georgia-Pacific. “The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade program is dedicated to helping local fire departments with the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
Since 2006, the Bucket Brigade program has supported local fire departments in Georgia-Pacific facility communities through more than $1 million in grants, safety education materials for schools and memberships for all grant applicants to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC).
The program is meeting critical needs particularly for fire departments in small and rural communities with a large volunteer base. In fact, of the one million firefighters in the United States, 70 percent are volunteers, according to the NVFC. [see infographic]
“Safety is a top priority of the NVFC, and the Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade program enables resource-constrained fire departments to purchase needed gear and equipment to protect their first responders,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “Finding funding is a constant struggle for volunteer departments. Georgia-Pacific is a terrific example of a company giving back to the community by supporting the local fire/EMS departments that protect its facilities and employees.”
This year, fire departments across 15 states were selected, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin. Grants ranged from $2,500 to $10,000 and were awarded based on critical need to ensure firefighter safety and proximity to a Georgia-Pacific facility.
Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs 35,000 people worldwide. Georgia-Pacific is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., a privately-owned company headquartered in Wichita, Kan. Both companies have a strong tradition of focused community investment in communities where they have operations.