WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Congressman Bart Gordon strongly supports the AFG program, which has awarded more than $125,000 in federal grants to help the Cannon County Volunteer Fire Department purchase protective equipment and improve recruitment.
“The AFG program was established in 2000 to help local fire departments and emergency medical services organizations purchase equipment. Since then, Tennessee’s fire stations have received more than $108 million in grants,” said Gordon.
The Fire Grants Reauthorization Act was authored and approved by the House Science and Technology Committee, which is chaired by Gordon. The bill lowers the matching funds requirements for the AFG awards, which will allow more fire stations to apply for the grants. Grant recipients would be required to match 10% of the grant’s funding, and the bill allows the Administrator of the program to waive or reduce the matching requirements for applicants that have demonstrated economic hardship.
The AFG program has awarded 1,331 grants to emergency response organizations in Tennessee since its creation. During the past two years, the Cannon County Volunteer Fire Department received two AFG grants to purchase equipment and improve requirement and training programs.
“Countless lives are saved every day by the courageous efforts of first responders, firefighters and EMTs. The AFG program has helped fire stations get the resources they need to better respond to emergencies,” said Gordon. “The bill we passed today will make it easier for fire departments in Middle Tennessee and across the country to obtain grants from this program.”