The Fort Smith Fire Department will receive a $689,572 federal grant for new equipment.
The offices of U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., John Boozman, R-Ark. and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers announced this week that the department would receive the funds through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The grant goes toward the purchase of face pieces and self-contained breathing apparatuses, according to a news release from Womack’s office.
The AFG program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2013 awarded $288.8 million to fire departments and EMS organizations to provide them with tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and emergency-response personnel, the release states.
Fort Smith Assistant Fire Chief Terry Bigler said the grant has been in place since 2002, and the department has acquired exercise equipment, radios, equipment upgrades and other necessary items through the program.
“We apply just about every year,” Bigler said. “We don’t always get it, but we have been really successful.”
Bigler said the grant is one of the biggest the department has received, and addresses a need that is long overdue.
In October, FEMA awarded a fire prevention and safety grant to the Fire Department that allows eligible residents to receive free smoke detectors for their homes. The department was given 600 detectors to distribute to Fort Smith residents who apply to receive the alarms and still has many available.
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