RURAL FIRE DEFENSE DIVISION
About Rural Fire Defense
The SODA Rural Fire Defense program provides technical assistance and equipment to new and established rural fire departments within ten-county SODA service area, which includes Atoka, Bryan, Carter, Coal, Garvin, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Murray and Pontotoc counties in south-central Oklahoma. There are 124 fire departments in the SODA service area.
The SODA Fire Defense Director works with existing fire departments to improve their fire protection services. The Fire Defense Director advises fire departments on Insurance Service Office/Commercial Risk Service (ISO/CRS) requirements necessary to lower insurance rates. The Fire Defense Director also organizes and develops new fire departments or districts in areas currently receiving poor or nonexistent fire protection services.
The Oklahoma Forestry Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry provides leadership and support for the SODA Rural Fire Defense program. Oklahoma Forestry Services provides technical assistance to the SODA service area in fire prevention, suppression, and fire planning. Oklahoma Forestry Services also supplies local fire departments with federal excess property as authorized by the SODA Fire Defense Director.
The Office of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshall provides information for licensing and permits for fireworks, code assistance and enforcement and building plan reviews.
The SODA Rural Fire Defense program administers the transfer of ownership of trucks and equipment from the Department of Defense to local fire departments. These trucks and equipment are transported into the state by the Oklahoma Forestry Services Division and then distributed, based on need and requests, to local fire departments. Once the departments have converted the trucks into fire-fighting vehicles they are given title and ownership.
Additionally, Oklahoma Forestry Services purchases fire-fighting tools such as portable pumps, hose, nozzles and turn out gear, and then makes these items available to local fire departments. Fire departments are able to purchase these items at the same cost as paid by the State.
SODA Fire Defense provides assistance local fire departments in the form of information and guidance when they are writing specifications for the purchase of new trucks and other firefighting equipment.
SODA Rural Fire Defense can assist local fire departments in obtaining grants, loans, and donations to construct fire stations, purchase equipment, and for operating expenses.
Operational Grants – Annual grants that are funded each year by legislative action. The amount varies from year to year, but currently has a statutory maximum of about $4,000. Funds for this grant can be expended for almost any operational expense fire departments have. There is not any match requirement for this grants.
80/20 Grant – The amount of funding for this grant is allocated by the Oklahoma Legislature on an annual basis. This grant can be used for the purchase of equipment and the construction of fire stations. Local fire departments are required to match this grant with 20 percent of their funds.