Fire Chief's Association Close to Becoming a Nonprofit Org.
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.The 11 Mesa County fire departments all have one goal, and that's protecting the community. In 2012 fire chiefs united in efforts to make each department stronger.
For months the Fire Chief's Association has been taking the necessary steps to be classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Grand Junction Fire Chief, Ken Watkins, said, "This year we've really stepped it up because we really have the same needs all of us. We have the same challenges, whether we are a large department like Grand Junction or a small department like Gateway."
"Really focus in on the objectives that have common good for all the fire agencies," said Andy Martsolf, emergency manager for Mesa County.
By becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, fire chiefs can better tackle a major factor in their operations, funding.
"As an organization the only funding source we have is through dues that we bring in or funding that we might obtain through training that we offer, but it's very limited. Our goal is to be able to take donations from larger groups or individuals that would help the association in a couple different areas," Watkins said.
While departments can apply for grants individually, becoming a nonprofit opens the door to a whole new range of funding.
Watkins said, "Training is a big area that all of the fire departments in Mesa County want to focus on. Being able to have a funding source come in from the nonprofit status will really help with those classes, especially for the smaller departments.
In 2013 the chiefs will also be working on several recommendations made from the 2012 fire study.
Martsolf said, "The Fire Chief's Association is doing a great job bring common topics to the table for all the agencies to work on."
"It's an exciting time for the Fire Chief's Association, we really are seeing how the partnership has grown and the teamwork is growing," said Watkins.
Colorado State Fire Chiefs are also undergoing the same process to become a nonprofit organization.