TRUMBULL AND MAHONING COUNTIES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Eagle Joint Fire District and the Youngstown Police Department will receive over $37,000 from Gov. Mike DeWine’s Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resilience Program.

The Eagle Joint Fire District in Trumbull County will receive $1,974 to give to employees and their families access to up to five free professional counseling sessions per year.

The Youngstown Police Department will receive $36,000 to provide access to an online wellness app that provides confidential wellness support.

The funds are a part of the first round of funding awarded to local first responder agencies across Ohio. A total of 26 agencies are set to receive $1.67 million to support the wellness needs of law enforcement officers, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs.

“Our first responders face the daily challenge of providing the highest level of response and care to Ohioans during traumatic circumstances, having little to no time to effectively process the stress brought on by these situations,” said DeWine. “We created this grant program to help our first responders take care of themselves so that they can continue taking care of others.”

The Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention and Resilience Program, administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, is offering a total of approximately $75 million in funding for the following initiatives:

  • Wellness programs addressing mental, physical and emotional health issues unique to first responders
  • Recruitment and retention efforts to restore workforce levels
  • Onboarding and training costs
  • Explorer programs to engage young adults about first responder careers

The program is a part of the $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding dedicated to counter problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased stress and decreased staff.

The program works in tandem with the new Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness, which focuses on the wellbeing of responders and provides specialized support and training to help emergency agencies address post-traumatic stress and other traumas unique to first-responder careers.