PATERSON-- U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08), the author of the Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) grant program today announced that the Belleville Fire Department has been awarded a $60,087 FIRE grant from the Department of Homeland Security to invest in new bailout kits and training for each of its firefighter.
“The firefighters in Belleville are well deserving of these federal dollars. The Department continues to put together outstanding applications and the results speak for themselves. The FIRE Act was written right here in the Eighth Congressional District, specifically to help communities like Belleville support its first responders. I am pleased that Belleville FD has remained active in pursuing these grants and has demonstrated such great success in securing them,” stated Pascrell.
Specifically, the grant will allow Belleville FD to invest in 74 new bailout kits to outfit each firefighter. The equipment will provide each firefighter with a harness and rope set that will provide a virtual escape system to navigate in limited visibility situations and to efficiently egress from multistory structures. The grant will also allow the Department to invest in the appropriate training materials to best utilize the equipment.
This grant marks the fifth FIRE grant awarded to Belleville since the program funding began in 2002. As recently as last year, Belleville was awarded $50,000 to invest in a hydraulic rescue tool often referred to as the ‘jaws of life,’ low pressure and high pressure lifting bags, a cutting torch, state of the art cribbing, elevator rescue keys, and a hydraulic rabbit tool. Belleville has received a total of $396,908 in federal funding under the FIRE grant program.
Fire departments across America have received grants under the FIRE grant program (aka the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program), which was directly created by Pascrell’s FIRE Act in 2000. The FIRE Act, first introduced in March of 1999, is the first comprehensive national legislation dedicated to meet the special needs of America’s 32,000 volunteer, paid and part-paid fire departments. With broad bipartisan support, Pascrell’s program has grown from $100 million in fiscal year 2001 to $490 million this year.
Pascrell added, “As a former mayor, I know that every dime of grant funding from the federal government provides important relief to the local taxpayers who sustain essential public safety operations like fire departments. During these trying economic times, federal assistance is a particularly worthy way to ease the local tax burden.”
The FIRE grant program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
As part of the FIRE grant application, applicants had to demonstrate financial need and articulate the benefits to be derived from the grant funds.
Funding priorities for the grant program were established utilizing recommendations from each of the nine major national fire service organizations.
For more current information regarding the FIRE Grant (Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program), visit www.usfa.fema.gov.