Student run non-profit gives $200k to fire agencies across JaCo/JoCo

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —A local student-run non-profit is giving back to local fire departments, by providing them with new equipment.

“We’re given that hands-on live-fire experience,” said Chief Chris Wolfard, Applegate Valley Fire District.

24 fire recruits from the Applegate Fire District and Rural Metro Fire participated in live-fire training Wednesday, also known as Burn to Learn. A local resident donated an old abandoned home for them to train on.

“Students broken into teams that are going to go through and rotate through all the different functions on the fire scene all the way from attacking the fire to rehab, and refilling bottles, water supply, and ventilation,” said Chief Wolfard.

The firefighters have been getting help the last several years from the Josephine County Foundation. The student-led non-profit, with kids from high schools across Jackson and Josephine Counties, has been around for the last 10 years.

Helping firefighters quickly became an issue students rallied behind, after a difficult fire season about 5 years ago.

“So we raised some funds and provided grants to those departments, and then kids came back and said you know what can’t we do something bigger for the fire department,” said Frank Ault, Josephine County Foundation Board Chair.

JCF’s Project Safe, now in its 3rd year, stands for Students Acquiring Firefighter Equipment. The incredible group raised $200,000. They did it by reaching out to donors like Pacific Power, West Family Foundation, and others.

“We wrote grants to these foundations and we fundraised around $40,000 and we had a private donor that matched our funds,” Bree Saunders, Executive Vice President, JCF.

Applegate Valley is getting $80,000 for a new type 6 brush fire engine.

“We can get in and get to our fires quicker with this piece of apparatus and keep them smaller that’s our goal, ” said Chief Mike Mclaughlin Applegate Rural Fire Protection District #9.

Prospect is getting just under $25,000 while Illinois Valley is getting about $23,000. Several others are also getting smaller amounts. The equipment ranges from wildland radios to the jaws of life.

“Firefighters are so essential to us especially in the summertime so it’s nice to have an impact on them,” said Bree Saunders Executive Vice President, JCF

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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