New Federal Grants Announced for Local Firefighters

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WASHINGTON, D.C.— The application period for new federal grants to firefighters and first responders, through the FY 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, is now open and will end Friday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. EST, and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) encouraged local fire departments to apply.

“This grant program provides crucial support for the safety and effectiveness of the men and women serving our communities as firefighters and EMS personnel,” said Smith, a long-time member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus who helped create the grant program in 2000. “I highly encourage the fire departments and first aid teams of the Fourth District to apply.”

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that $315 million in FY 2018 grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program will be available for fire departments, State Fire Training Academies, and nonaffiliated EMS organizations.

The grants, awarded competitively, support EMS personnel and firefighters in their response capabilities to emergencies and equipment needed to help protect health and safety of first responders, and are awarded competitively. In the past, New Jersey firefighters and EMS have received safety equipment through the grant program like radios, self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA), turn out gear (firefighting suits, boots and helmet), and vehicles such as ladders, pumpers and ambulances.

“I would like to see even more departments and squads apply for these grants during this round,” Smith said. “Those interested should contact my office, as we have been able to assist applicants in the past with any obstacles they have encountered in the application process.”

The AFG program helps ensure a robust response of local departments to fire and other hazards, and has provided approximately $7.1 billion in grants since FY 2001 for this purpose, according to the DHS.

Interested parties can apply for grants for the following activities:

• Operations and Safety

• Vehicle Acquisition: Fire Departments and non-affiliated EMS Organizations

• Regional Grants

• State Fire Training Academies