JOPLIN, Mo. — Grant funding from a local utility is helping the Joplin Fire Department provide more fire prevention education.

Missouri American Water chose 47 departments across the state of Missouri for the 2023 Firefighter Grant Program. They’re handing out more than $55,000 this year, and Joplin’s portion is $1,200. The money is usually used for equipment, training tools, or community awareness about fire protection and prevention.

“We’re buying some new puppets for the puppet shows that we put on for the schools. We’re also buying educational materials that we’ll be handing out. You know, for generations and into the future, we’re going to give them the most up to date safety information we can possibly provide with this grant,” said Gerald Ezell, Joplin Fire Department Chief.

“Being the fact that we’re the water provider, and fire protection is so critical to the health of our communities, this is a great program to support the fire department,” said Christie Barnhart, Missouri American Water Sr. Communications Mngr.

Locally, Redings Mill and the Tri-Cities Fire Protection Districts were also chosen as grant recipients for this year’s funding.