Schwank: Applications being accepted for emergency services

The emergency services organizations representing the men and women who answer the call to help Berks County residents in distress can now apply for state grants to pay for facilities, equipment and training.

Eligible fire departments, volunteer ambulance services and rescue squads can apply for the assistance online through the Office of State Fire Commissioner.

“Berks County’s fire fighters, paramedics and rescue personnel embody what it means to be ‘first responders’,” Schwank said. “I am hoping each organization takes the opportunity to apply for a grant so they continue their vital services every day.”

Grants can help to pay for the construction or renovation of a fire department or ambulance service facility, the purchase or repair of equipment, debt reduction and the training and certification of members.

Money from the 2013-14 Fire Company, Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program is open to career and volunteer fire departments.

Generally, grants will range from $2,500 to $15,000.

“Whether applying as one unit or as a regional or joint project, these grants will go a long way to ensuring our emergency responders will be there when we call them,” Schwank said.

The deadline to apply for the grant is 4 p.m., Oct. 24. For instruction and online application, visit http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/volunteer_fire_company_and_volunteer_ambulance_service_grant_program/9188/vfcvas_grant_application_available/565111.