Local fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations are learning how to apply and qualify for federal grants at a series of grant writing workshops held by Rep. Dan Maffei. Those funds can be used to pay for needed equipment, recruiting or vehicles.
Fire department officials, town supervisors and others met with Maffei, and a FEMA representative, to discuss proper grant writing techniques and when to apply for funds. Maffei says grant funding is one way local fire companies can stay afloat in a time of budget insecurity.
"We can't do it all, but we're trying to build partnerships with fire departments, police departments, cities and municipalities, so that any place where we do see pockets of funding in the federal budget, we can take advantage and bring those dollars home to help locally," Maffei said.
The lawmaker is also encouraging those agencies to apply for every grant they can.
"This can fill some of those gaps," said the congressman. "We need to balance the budget, but we don't want public safety to suffer, and we certainly don't want our firefighters and first responders to have to risk their lives any more than they need to in order to do the very important job they do."
So far this year, more than $1 million grants have been awarded to local fire departments and other first responders through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, one of several congressionally mandated programs funded through 2017. The government is funding the program with $750 million during that span.