A $131,599 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant was awarded to the Sunnyside Fire Department last week. The grant is one of 8,000 awards worth nearly $750 million that are expected to be awarded over the next few months.
According to Sunnyside Fire Chief Jim Stanton, the local fire department has applied for FEMA grants for the past four years, but this year is the first time the department has been awarded monies. In the past the department has sought money to upgrade department apparatus. The money that has been awarded will directly benefit the local firefighters. According to Stanton, it will be used to purchase new, state-of-the-art self-contained breathing apparatus air packs and air bottles, and individual face shields for every firefighter. Currently, firefighters share the face shields, he said.
Stanton said that the Sunnyside Fire Department has been adding new equipment to the old air packs to make them comply with new state laws. He anticipates purchasing the new equipment after the first of the year. Stanton said he plans to add the money into the 2005 budget.
"These funds will help provide Sunnyside firefighters with the equipment they need to protect themselves as they protect our communities," said Congressman Doc Hastings, who supported the Assistance to Firefighters grant program this year.
The FEMA grant is part of the Homeland Security program, which is ensuring that firefighters have the resources they need to protect their communities.
Nine Washington communities were in the latest round of grant recipients. A total of $761,850 was awarded to the fire departments.
"President Bush and I strongly support the critical mission of our nation's firefighters. Through these funds, we will ensure that our nation's emergency responders have the equipment and training they need to respond to all hazards," said Secretary Tom Ridge of Homeland Security.
. Melissa Dekker can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org