BHP Billiton donated $12,000 to help the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management with the purchase of new equipment for volunteer fire departments.

The donation was part of a larger $60,000 gift to multiple counties, including Cleburne, Conway, Van Buren and White counties.

"BHP Billiton’s support will ensure that our volunteer fire departments have the upgraded equipment required to respond to the needs of their communities," director of Faulkner County OEM Sheila McGee said.

BHP Billiton, one of the largest natural gas operators in Arkansas’ Fayetteville Shale with more than 467,000 lease acres, made a similar donation to county OEM offices a year ago to assist with satisfying an unfunded mandate for upgrading digital communication systems.

"We greatly respect the important responsibility that volunteer fire departments and the Office of Emergency Management have in helping the residents of Faulkner County during emergencies," BHP Billiton external affairs manager Danny Games said. "We applaud their commitment of volunteer emergency responders and hope this donation will make their jobs easier in protecting our fellow Arkansans."