Congressman Aaron Schock successfully restored funding this week for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighter (AFG) grants. These grants provide vital funding to the nation's first responders to help adequately staff firehouses and to provide the necessary specialized equipment to protect those that put themselves in harm's way. The amendment, which was approved by the House during debate on the FY 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, restores current levels of funding for both grants.
"The SAFER and AFG grants provide critical funding to help firefighters and EMS personnel purchase and maintain life-saving equipment. In my district these grants have enabled first responders to purchase everything from state-of-the-art cardiac monitors that are used on the scene of an accident, to fire suits and oxygen equipment for firefighters so that they never have to second guess the equipment they are using," said Congressman Aaron Schock. "Many times small communities don't have the local resources to provide the assistance first responders need and in many cases the firefighters, departments and districts that benefit from these grant programs are entirely volunteer. Whether it's a house fire or a larger disaster response, it's my goal to make sure our first responders have the resources to be as effective as possible and that starts with these grants so they can purchase the specialized equipment and hire the personnel necessary to get the job done."
In a statement from the Peoria Firefighters Local 50 they praised the restoring of the funding for the two grant programs, "Peoria Firefighters Local 50 would like to thank Congressman Schock for his support and dedication to the SAFER funding and Fire Grant Act. We certainly understand how difficult these financial times are and we are truly grateful to Congressman Schock for remembering the Nation's first responders. Firefighters and Police Officers should be a top priority as it relates to the safety and well being for the citizens of this country."
Background on SAFER Grants
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards.
Background on AFG Grants
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the Nation's overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards.
Examples of how these grants have impacted the 18th District:
"I am very thankful for the hard work that Congressman Schock and his staff have put into making this grant possible," said Bryce McCormick, Chief of the Chapin Rescue Squad and Mayor of Chapin. "These new monitors will allow for field recognition of life threatening illness, and will undoubtedly help the Chapin Area Rescue Squad in our effort to save the lives of those in our community. Without this funding we would not be able to enhance the service we provide our citizens to the level now possible."
The Limestone Fire Protection District was awarded $802,240 in February 2012. This significant grant allowed for the purchase and implementation of a new radio system for the Limestone Fire Protection District.
The Chapin Area Rescue Squad was awarded $62,130 in January 2012 to upgrade from the AED's that they currently carry to state-of-the-art cardiac monitors that will enhance the squads ability to deliver life saving energy to their patients.
Additionally, this purchase will allow them to start upgrading their service level.
The Adams County Ambulance & EMS Department was awarded in December 2011 $56,000. The grant will go towards the purchase and installation of diesel exhaust systems for their facilities.
The Argenta-Oreana Fire Protection District was awarded in February 2011 $129,675 to purchase 28 complete self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.
The Jacksonville Fire Department was awarded in February 2011 $157,966 to purchase a respirator fit tester with data analysis and an industry compliant self contained breathing apparatus unit.