SOUTH JORDAN — Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation donated over $92,000 in gear and equipment to several police and fire departments along the Wasatch Front this week.
The combined equipment was one of the largest donations Firehouse Subs has made at one time, said restaurant area representative Randy Judd.
"Most of the time we do one piece of equipment at a time," Judd said. "But (these departments) had a lot of need, and we wanted to hold off and do a big celebration. Just bring everyone together and celebrate the fire departments and the police departments who get the equipment."
Officers and responders from the selected departments attended an award ceremony outside a Firehouse Subs restaurant in South Jordan on Wednesday.
"Our department got ballistic vests from the Firehouse Subs grant," said Jason Turner, an engineer and paramedic for the Provo Fire Department. "It's nice to get the support."
Firehouse Subs created the foundation in 2005 and has given more than $357,000 to first responder departments in Utah.
"It’s not just a themed restaurant. We're authentic to firefighters," Judd said. "We celebrate the men and women who protect us."
The foundation quarterly reviews grant applications from first responder departments and awards requests based on need and donation funding. Only 1 in 5 requests are awarded, depending on the foundation's funding, Judd said.
Five fire departments and two police departments received equipment, from coats and helmets to radios and a motorcycle.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department recently welcomed a 10-month-old Belgian Malinois puppy named Rocky to its K-9 unit. The foundation awarded its grant request for a vehicle conversion kit and training equipment to care for the new police service dog.
"With the impact of how much it costs for a canine unit, I don’t know if we would’ve been able to get the canine unit this year if we didn’t have the donation to pay for this part of it," said Saratoga Springs police officer Derek Dalton.
The vehicle conversion kit gives the dogs more room to move than a traditional kennel, keeps the unit at a controlled temperature and provides other features to help officers work with the dogs.
"Anytime we’re out, our dog is with us," Dalton said. "A small kennel would not be sufficient enough for the dog."
The South Jordan Fire Department received three video laryngoscopes, devices that help secure airways for patients suffering from respiratory and cardiac trauma.
"All of these tools are allowing our paramedics in South Jordan to have additional tools in their tool bags to save patients' lives," said South Jordan Fire Chief Andy Butler.
A new patrol motorcycle was presented to the Pleasant Grove Police Department to help with traffic enforcement and accessing trail systems in the area.
"When you talk about community relations, (the motorcycle) is a really good piece of equipment because it’s putting the officer more out there in the community," said Pleasant Grove Chief Michael Smith. "Without this grant award we never would’ve gotten this bike."
Other equipment included portable radios to the West Valley City Fire Department, pagers to the Genola Fire Department and turnout gear, such as gloves and boots, to the Morgan County Fire Department.
Around 60 percent of the funding comes through customer donations. Firehouse Subs offers three primary ways to give to the foundation: collecting change from canisters near restaurant registers, selling the restaurant's used pickle buckets for $2 and inviting guests to round up the cost of their meal to the nearest dollar.
The remainder of the donation money comes from store owners, administration and Firehouse Subs founders.
"We’re glad to fulfill the need," Judd said.