U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, and Congressman Frank Pallone today co-sponsored a workshop at the Middlesex Fire Academy to provide information to New Jersey fire department and EMS leaders on FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program. The workshop was designed to educate firefighters on how to write a better grant application so that more programs are successful in receiving much needed funding. FEMA specialists led the session with over 150 firefighters in attendance. This is the third year Senator Menendez has sponsored the event.
"Providing our first responders with the tools they need was a promise we made after 9-11, and it's a promise I intend to make sure we keep," said Senator Menendez. "Today's workshop is a great way to bring together first responders and local government officials with FEMA representatives in an effort to make the grant application process more approachable and grant applications as complete and specific as possible -- so that New Jersey's fire departments can be top competitors for funding."
"Today's workshop was a great opportunity to work directly with local firefighters to make it easier for them to access federal funds," said Senator Lautenberg, Vice Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds this program. "Keeping New Jersey families safe is our first priority, and it's important that our first responders have the resources they need to protect our communities."
The AFG grants are available to Fire Departments and non-affiliated EMS Organizations and provide funding for vehicles, fire and EMS equipment, personal protective equipment and training. The SAFER program awards grants to fire departments to help increase the number of frontline firefighters and to rehire firefighters who have been laid-off.
Since the program's inception in 2001, New Jersey fire departments have received approximately $125 million in AFG grants.