Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, all D-Del., are celebrating a $1.25 million grant award to the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Friday, the agency announced it was awarding a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant of $1,251,550 to the local association.
Additional grants may be forthcoming. The program distributes funding nationwide to help local fire departments hire, train and retain front-line firefighters.
“I am proud to support this funding to help bolster the ranks of our volunteer firefighters,” said Sen. Carper, co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “They put their lives on the line for their community, and it’s important that we make investments to help them do their jobs safely and effectively. I was proud to support this grant and additional funding for this program through the American Rescue Plan.”
The Delaware congressional delegation has ensured that funding SAFER Grants — as well as Assistance to Firefighters Grants, which are used for equipment, emergency vehicles and other resources — remains a priority.
Congress appropriated $360 million nationwide to each program this year, and President Joe Biden’s budget request for 2023 asks for a $10 million increase to both.
The American Rescue Plan, which passed in 2021, also provided an additional $100 million for AFG and $200 million for SAFER Grants, as fire agencies in Delaware and across the country struggled with the impact of the pandemic.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Coons requested full funding for these programs for fiscal year 2022 and will do the same for 2023.
“Last year, the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association celebrated 100 years of dedicated service to Delawareans, and grants like this ensure that their best days are still ahead of them,” he said. “Just this month, I celebrated these brave men and women who volunteer to protect Delawareans at the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association’s annual conference, and there is no organization I trust more to implement this recruitment grant than the DVFA.”