Federal awards will provide department with new hoses & water equipment
Congressman Brian Higgins and City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis announced a federal fire grant totaling $106,145 awarded to the City of Tonawanda Fire Department through the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG).
“Fire grants provide necessary funding to ensure that departments have the right safety equipment to protect the public and first responders when an emergency, like a fire, takes place,” Higgins said. “The job of a firefighter is never easy but, being without modern equipment, increases the challenges associated with responding to modern emergencies.”
Davis said, “Congressman Higgins has always supported the City of Tonawanda and our first responders. This funding ensures that not only will our fire department be well equipped to handle any emergency, but that our residents can rest assured that critical equipment will work in their greatest time of need.”
The City of Tonawanda will use the funding to purchase more than 14,000 feet of hose, 24 new nozzles, three “Blitzfire” ground monitors, and four piston intake valves. Some of the hoses and nozzles being replaced date back to the 1960s and 1970s. The new equipment will help the department better respond to large structure fires, as well as fuel spills and fires, and improve their overall response times to fire emergencies.
Chief Chares Stuart said, “If not for his support, this funding would not be possible. Not only for us, but for many other fire and EMS agencies who simply do not have the financial means for a sufficient amount of critical equipment and programs.”
The AFG program awards grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as first responders. It is one of three DHS/FEMA programs that focus on public and firefighter safety with respect fire and related hazards.
“This type of assistance has a direct effect on the safety and efficiency of our personnel and, in my mind, the efforts that Congressman Higgins puts forth to support the AFG program makes him and his colleagues true unsung heroes,” Stuart said.
In 2018, the City of Tonawanda Fire Department received $359,448 in federal funding through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) program to support firefighter recruitment and staffing.
AFG awards are administered by DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration and major fire service organizations. In 2020, Congress authorized $319.5 million to support the ability of fire departments to respond to fires and emergencies of all types. Since 2001, the AFG program has awarded over $7.7 billion in grants to first responders that provide resources to equip and train emergency personnel, enhance operational efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.
To learn more about the AFG program, the guidance and application tools, visit https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters.