(JACKSON, MN) — Federated Rural Electric, Jackson, recently presented a donation totaling $7,500 to four local fire departments — Okabena, Sherburn, Round Lake and Dunnell-Lake Fremont.

Federated took advantage of matching funds from two organizations to triple the impact. “Federated donated $2,500, then secured matching funds from CoBank’s Sharing Success Program and Basin Electric Cooperative,” stated Federated’s General Manager Scott Reimer. “Cooperatives are concerned about their local communities; we saw this as a way to help each fire department with costly equipment needs. This is the second year of helping our local fire departments; we will rotate this donation the following years until we’ve helped each fire department in our service area.”

CoBank is one entity that provides Federated long-term financing for line construction projects, while Basin Electric is one of Federated’s wholesale power providers.

The Okabena Fire Department will buy three sets of turnout gear with their donation. “Turnout gear is expensive and should to be replaced every 10 to 20 years,” stated Chad Petersen, fire chief. “The turnout gear consists of the flame-retardant coat and bunker pants, plus the boots, gloves and particulate blocking hood.”

The Sherburn Fire Department is currently raising funds to buy new radios to replace the old, outdated ones.  “The cost of these radios is $3,800 each and $110,000 total,” stated Mike Ringnell, Sherburn’s fire chief. “These new radios ensure that we have reliable equipment to communicate during emergencies. We have raised 12 percent of the funds so far.”

Meanwhile, the Round Lake Fire Department will buy 15 pagers. “Pagers cost $499 each,” said Kevin Turner, Round Lake’s fire chief. “Reliable communications help us respond quickly to emergencies.”

Finally, the Dunnell-Lake Fremont Fire Department will purchase equipment for the department. Fire Chief Alan Helmers says, “We will buy four self-contained breathing apparatus batteries, a battery-operated ventilation fan, plus additional hoses and nozzles.”

Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 5,300 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.