Congressman Visclosky announced that the East Chicago Fire Department (ECFD) received a grant under the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.
Since 2001, the AFG program has provided approximately $5.25 billion in grants to first-responder organizations throughout the country. The grants assist police, fire, and emergency medical services seeking to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, training, and firefighting or emergency vehicles. In Fiscal Year 2012 alone, the AFG program will award approximately $337.5 million directly to fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations to enhance their response capabilities and more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.
The grant awarded to ECFD will be used to replace a number of the Department's radios. East Chicago Fire Chief Emiliano Perez noted that the funds came at a critical time for ECFD. "This award was a godsend," Chief Perez said. "Like so many first response organizations, we are facing financial constraints that impact the manner in which we operate. At a time when we need to protect our firefighters, we could not be more thankful for a Congressman who looks out for our interests in Washington."
East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland stated, "This grant will allow us to replace aging radios, which are a firefighter's lifeline. With this much-needed assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to the firefighters' program, the lifeline of a radio will continue to go unbroken and save lives."
"Our firefighters must have every available resource to keep Northwest Indiana families safe," Congressman Visclosky said. "I am proud to help them, and thankful for their brave service. I thank Chief Perez, the East Chicago Fire Department, the City of East Chicago, and Mayor Copeland for their efforts to secure this grant."