External sprinkler systems can help protect properties in the event of a wildfire. Installing them can be costly, but there is help available.
The Cook County Firewise committee is applying for another FEMA grant to assist property owners with the cost of installing wildfire sprinkler systems, and the opportunities for funding are being expanded this year to include properties without direct access to a large water supply. Cheryl Walimaa is the Firewise Committee grant coordinator:
“The grant that is currently going on from the 2008 application is for a water source only sprinkler system, meaning that if people have a direct water source from the lake, a river, a large pond that has a very large capacity of water in it, were awarded grants on that application. On this application we are expanding that to low water systems as well, being that pretty much anyone except for those who have, like, a well on their property could apply for this grant.”
Firewise has to submit the grant application to FEMA by September 25th of this year, so interested homeowners should apply soon.
“They can apply right now. If they’re not sure, if they do or do not want a type of sprinkler system, they should definitely sign up, because with these grants, once we submit an application with property names and addresses, we can not add anyone else to the list. And even though people sign up, they’re not required to participate in it, but it is there for them if they do want to go for it.
There are a few ways for homeowners to apply for assistance, says Walimaa.
“We’ve got an application with a little article blurb on it in the Cook County News Herald. We also have it posted on the Cook County website, and that website address is www.co.cook.mn.us
, and there is a link on the homepage that says FEMA Wildfire Hazard Mitigation funding and they click on that and they can apply right online. Or they can give us a call, the Firewise number, at the 218-387-3688, and I can fill it out for them online, with them on the phone.”