Federal funds will help protect the public and first responders
Congressman Brian Higgins has announced the Lackawanna Fire Department will receive a grant through the Department of Homeland Security's assistance to firefighters grant program (AFG). Lackawanna firefighters will be awarded $11,905 in federal funding through this fiscal year 2014 award.
"First responders dedicate their lives to protecting the public in times of crisis," said Higgins, a member of the House committee on homeland security. "I'm pleased to announce that the brave members of the Lackawanna Fire Department will be recognized and supported for their service with this federal grant."
"This grant will help keep the brave men and women of the Lackawanna Fire Department safe," City of Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski said. "We'd like to thank everyone who supported this effort, which will provide the tools to help our department serve the community."
"This award will allow our firefighters the peace of mind that, if they become trapped in a fire, we have a way to quickly find them and bring them out," Lackawanna Fire Department Chief Ralph Galanti said. "Without the AFG program, the department would be unable to purchase the modern equipment needed to keep firefighters safe and provide a much better service to the citizens of Lackawanna."
With this year's AFG funds, the Lackawanna Fire Department plans to purchase equipment that accurately monitors firefighters inside burning buildings and locates them should they become injured and unable to move. Known as an electronic accountability system, the equipment attaches to a self-contained breathing apparatus and operates from the moment a firefighter enters a building, allowing him to concentrate on fighting the fire.
The Lackawanna Fire Department was awarded this grant under the assistance to firefighters grant program, which makes funds available for operations and safety improvements, including training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and safety modification to the station and facilities.
Since 2005, support from federal grants has allowed the Lackawanna Fire Department to purchase new equipment including a ladder truck and state-of-the-art mobile radios.
These awards are administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. All applications are then submitted to DHS and go through a nonpartisan, merit-based review ranked by factors established by a panel of service professionals.
AFG was established in 2001 and renewed under the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act of 2012. The program is now in its 15th year. The AFG will award up to $340 million in grants to fire departments nationwide this year to improve the health and safety of the public and first responders.