From Berks-Mont SourcesOn Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $200,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to the Sassamansville Volunteer Fire Co. Nationally, the AFG awards, which will be distributed in phases, will ultimately provide approximately $560 million to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations throughout the country.

AFG awards aim to enhance response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public with respect to fire and other hazards. The grants enable local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations to purchase or receive training, conduct first responder health and safety programs, and buy equipment and response vehicles. The AFG program has been instrumental in building capacity and providing needed resources for our national firefighters, said FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison. From the purchase of equipment to first responder training, the AFG program has helped improve response capabilities and saved lives and property in communities throughout the United States. Since 2002, AFG has provided over $3.6 billion in grants to fire departments and first responder organizations to purchase response equipment, personal protective equipment, vehicles and fire prevention activities.

AFG is administered cooperatively by two FEMA components: The Grants Program Directorate and the United States Fire Administration. According to Sassamansville Fire Chief Ray Strickland, the money will be used to replace the company's aging 1983 Tanker which as been in need of repairs and lacks modern safety features. "By having a new and up-to-date safety-wise Tanker we can better do our job in the community and be more firefighter safety oriented. The Tanker will be able to carry approximately 2300 gallons of water. We are presently in discussions with several manufactors and are optimistic that we can have it in station by the end of the year."

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