A $38,418 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant will enable the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department to buy new equipment, U.S. Representative Bart Gordon announced today.
\"Many communities struggle to maintain fire-protection services,\" said Gordon, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. \"Even though demands on firefighters have increased tremendously over the years, the resources they depend on to provide their life-saving services have not.
\"That's why Congress initiated the Assistance to Firefighters Program, which is similar to the highly successful COPS Program that put more than 100,000 new police officers on the nation's streets.\"
Chief Shelie Askew said the 15-member department will use the funds to purchase new turnout gear, such as helmets, boots and any other equipment firefighters wear on call.
\"There are a lot of small towns, like this one, that can't afford new equipment, \"Askew said. \"We've been running on 20-year old equipment. Thank the good Lord they finally approved it.\"
Homeland Security awarded the grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, created by Congress to help underfunded fire departments better serve community residents. In addition to funding operations and firefighter safety programs, the grants can also be used to purchase firefighting vehicles.
\"Countless lives and properties have been saved through the valiant efforts of firefighters and rescue squads, \" Gordon said. \"This program is a much-needed opportunity for local fire departments to strengthen their resources and capabilities.\"