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GSA's 24/7 Federal Supply Service Provides Clothing, Equipment to Fight Forest Fires


GSA # 9727

September 11, 2000
Contact: Viki Reath
(202) 501-1231

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Smokey's helpers," as nine U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) workers in a Fort Worth, Tex., office have dubbed themselves, take orders around the clock, daily, for clothing and equipment for over 25,000 firefighters battling the worst U.S. forest fires in decades.

Smokey's helpers are among 30 GSA workers on call in offices and warehouses around the country to fill orders for the fire-resistant clothing, canteens, tools and other equipment in GSA's 320-item fire-fighting inventory. GSA has shipped equipment and supplies in support of more than 80 fires in six states, sometimes within hours. In fact, GSA has shipped $41.4M worth of fire-fighting supplies so far this year, the highest amount in its 51-year history.

"GSA's unsung heroes are supplying the armor and ammunition to the frontlines," Administrator Dave Barram said today. "We are proud of our women and men at GSA, who give freely to ensure that everything that leaves our warehouses will do the job."

Customers activate the GSA supply system when they send their orders to Fort Worth. Within minutes of receipt, Smokey's helpers check the orders for accuracy, then fax them to the Stockton, Calif., warehouse for shipment.

"Once Stockton gets the order, workers determine the weight and arrange transportation," said Donna Bennett, Commissioner of the GSA's Federal Supply Service. "If orders arrive after hours or on weekends, a telephone service contacts personnel to report to work. In most cases we fill orders within hours of receiving them."

Maintaining GSA's fire-supply business is a year-round operation.

"There is no precise timing for submission of emergency fire orders," Ms. Bennett said. "Therefore we have to be ready to process them 365 days a year. We're gratified that members of the firefighting community tell us, continually, that they appreciate GSA's expertise and dedication, which equip their firefighters to do their jobs."