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DVFR awarded $169,516 grant to recruit and certify EMS professionals

Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue (DVFR) has been awarded a $169,516 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to recruit and certify Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMT). SAMHSA, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the “Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Grant” opportunity in December, 2021 and DVFR submitted its application in February, 2022. The awards were announced on 29 July.

DVFR’s grant application requested funding for two EMS Academies to be run in 2023, including one EMT Academy and one AEMT Academy. The grant funding was approved for the full amount and DVFR will use the proceeds for instructors, advanced training equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), training resources, and recruiting candidates for the academies. In addition to certifying new EMTs and AEMTs, DVFR will provide enhanced training specific to patients experiencing the effects of substance abuse and mental health incidents to academy candidates and existing certified DVFR members.

DVFR Fire Chief John Hennessey explained the significance of this grant to the department and the communities in its service area. “We are driven to dramatically improve patient care on the SR-18 corridor in our expansive licensed area of operation. This grant provides DVFR the opportunity to continue to elevate the level of patient care as we experience increased growth in the number of residents and visitors without increasing costs to Dammeron Valley residents.” According to Chief Hennessey, the funding will assist DVFR in recruiting new members during a time when departments across the state and region are facing challenges attracting and keeping new recruits.

“The ability to offer candidates a best-in-class training and certification experience using advanced learning tools and props helps us stand out from other programs as we seek to increase the number of certified members in the department and our service area,” Chief Hennessey explained. He added, "The Advanced certification course allows the department to increase the certification level of existing DVFR members in support of the agency’s Advanced Life Support (ALS) license and we do not plan to stop there. This grant is a step in achieving our ‘Vision 2030’ strategy which provides a look into the future Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue organization with a focus on five key foundational pillars that will completely transform the department from the historical volunteer dependent organization of the past 40 years.”

Dammeron Valley Fire Special Service District (DVFSSD) Board Chair Mack Sorensen credits the award to the dedication and professionalism of DVFR’s members and leadership. “We believe this is the largest grant in DVFR’s history, and it’s the result of the hard work, dedication, and commitment to training and certification displayed each and every day by the members of our department.” Sorensen finished by thanking DVFR’s Grant Committee for their professional work and added that the department still has more than $1M in outstanding grant applications pending decisions. “We know there will be more good news to come.”

For information regarding DVFR’s upcoming academies, please visit

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