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The Zachary Fire Department will receive a $10,000 grant from Georgia-Pacific for new equipment. From left are Georgia-Pacific Port Hudson Vice President of Operations Kelvin Hill; training officer Gordon Lipscomb; Capt. Steven Lewis; Volunteer Chief of Operations Michael Kimble; Deputy Chief Michael Hopwood; firefighters Jimmy Roberts, Josh Knight, Johnathan Nelson, John Wales and Darius Patt; Capt. Stephen Jones; Deputy Chief David Armand; and firefighter Micah Rispone and firefighter Josh Curry.

ZACHARY — The Zachary Fire Department is one of 43 fire departments awarded Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants in 2018. The department will receive $10,000 to help fund equipment needs, specifically personal protective equipment.

“Our local fire departments are a vital part of our community, so we are very pleased to help them stay well-equipped,” said Kelvin Hill, vice president at Georgia-Pacific's Port Hudson facility. “These grants express our thanks for their commitment to the people they serve.”

The Bucket Brigade program awarded $214,000 in grants to departments this year for equipment critical to firefighters’ safety. Since the program began in 2006, Georgia-Pacific has given more than $2.4 million in cash and educational materials hundreds of fire departments that serve the company’s facility communities across the country.

The fire department says the grant will go toward the replacement of aging protective gear including coats, pants, helmets and breathing apparatuses.

“The personal protective equipment structural firefighters wear today is drastically different than what they wore just 10 years ago,” said Fire Chief Danny Kimble. “This new gear will be 20 percent lighter and 70 percent more flexible than the old gear.”

Grants are based on need and are funded by the Georgia-Pacific Foundation and local Georgia-Pacific facilities. Funds are typically used to purchase new protective clothing and replace items such as damaged safety gear and aging equipment.

Through the program, Georgia-Pacific also gives all grant applicants free memberships to the National Volunteer Fire Council, which provides access to tools, resources, programs and advocacy for first responders across the nation.

The fire departments receiving grants this year span 20 states where Georgia-Pacific has facilities: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.