MFA Oil Foundation Supports Rural Fire Departments
April 20, 2018
Written By Adam Buckallew
Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to an alarm somewhere in the United States. In most cases, it’s volunteer firefighters who show up to battle the flames or render emergency services. These volunteers save not only lives but also money—more than $139.8 billion annually for local governments, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Despite these savings, many localities lack a sufficient tax base to support fire services, leaving rural fire departments underfunded and forcing volunteers to make do with outdated or otherwise inadequate equipment.
Firefighting is an expensive endeavor, and it’s getting costlier as equipment prices have skyrocketed in recent years. In 1984, a self-contained breathing apparatus cost $900, and prices have since jumped to more than $5,000. Fire engine pumper trucks cost $400,000 more than they did 30 years ago.
To help address the funding issue faced by rural fire departments, the MFA Oil Foundation has donated in excess of $170,000 to more than 100 departments around the Midwest since 1999.
“We are committed to giving back to the communities where MFA Oil does business, and we are proud to help provide first responders with the life-saving equipment they need to do their jobs,” says Floyd Buckman, who serves on both the MFA Oil Board of Directors and the MFA Oil Foundation board.
“Throughout the years, various items have been donated including used trucks, scene lights and generators, among other things. These donations help communities modernize and bring their equipment into the 21st century, which many of them may have been unable to do so due to their tight budgets.”
Many fire departments often have to rely on fundraisers and grants to afford new vehicles and equipment or even repair and maintain old equipment. For the Dadeville Rural Fire Protection District, an MFA Oil Foundation grant meant the department had money to buy a new thermal imaging camera, 12 raincoats and a high-pressure lift bag.
“With an annual operating budget of under $20,000, most of our funds go toward maintenance of equipment we already have,” says Brian Sneed, fire chief of the Dadeville Rural Fire Protection District in Dadeville, Mo. “The MFA Oil Foundation’s donation was a tremendous help and blessing for our department.”
Many grants help to provide equipment such as jaws-of-life and rescue saws firefighters needed to perform rescue services. Others are used to purchase new protective clothing like coats and boots and to replace damaged safety gear and aging equipment. These donations provide vital resources to the brave men and women protecting the lives of individuals across communities in which MFA Oil serves.
“MFA Oil has many employees that live and work in rural communities, and these same individuals may also make up the local fire department,” says Tom May, chairman of the MFA Oil Foundation. “Oftentimes, the grants we donate provide funds for life-saving equipment that couldn’t be afforded otherwise. It’s not about doing it for a plaque or recognition. We’re just trying to give back to the communities we serve and be a good corporate citizen by fulfilling needs we see in these areas.”
Rural firefighter departments are encouraged to apply for grants through the MFA Oil Foundation.