Firefighters from the Kiowa Fire District joined Firehouse Subs shop owner Cory Cummings and his staff for an Aug. 4 ceremony celebrating a grant issued to the department by the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation at the chain's Twenty Mile Road location in Parker.
The $17,350 Firehouse grant filled a five-page wish list of hoses, chain saws and even a week supply of freeze-dried food to equip the Kiowa Fire Department's newest brush truck. The new equipment qualifies the truck for deployment on federal and state missions.
“It's our first brush truck eligible for federal and state deployments,” said Kiowa Fire Chief Gerry Lamansky. “It's really going to help us.”
The fully equipped truck could offer a financial boost to the department. A two- to three-man crew on a brush truck could generate as much as $22,000 for each two-week deployment on federal or state missions. Earned funds would be directed back to the department to purchase and update equipment.
Lamansky anticipates that brush truck B223 will be fully equipped and approved for use during the 2017 fire season.
Since its inception, the Firehouse foundation has given more than $20 million of grants and equipment to departments in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. First responders in Colorado have received over $260,000.
Locally, the Elizabeth Fire Protection District received an $8,000 Firehouse grant in 2015, which funded an interactive manikin. The device is use to help train EMTs and is capable of simulating multiple symptoms.
Megnah Vargas, the senior development manager for Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, said that nationally the foundation averages around $1 million in donations per quarter.
“We were founded in 2005 nationally after Hurricane Katrina, so helping with disaster relief, wildfires, tornados is very near and dear to us. It's really how we were started,” Vargas said. “Most of the fundraising comes from the guests in the restaurants, about 60 percent.”
Firehouse customers are offered the opportunity to round up to the next dollar on purchases through the “Round Up” program; to buy recycled, five-gallon pickle buckets for $2; or to drop their change into a collection jar at the register. The remaining 40 percent of funding for grants comes through general donations.
To celebrate the opening of the franchise's 1,000th store, Firehouse founders Chris and Robin Sorenson donated $1 million to the foundation and directed the money to equip police cruisers in departments around the country with 1,000 automated external defibrillators (AED).
The portable AEDs are lightweight and deliver an electric shock to restore normal rhythm to individuals experiencing a heart attack.