Senator Collins led a bipartisan letter urging FEMA to distribute the $100 million provided through the CARES Act to protect first responders
Washington, D.C.—Following a bipartisan push spearheaded by U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, FEMA announced that they will make $100 million in emergency funding available for firefighters to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE). FEMA began to accept applications on April 28 and fire departments have until May 15 to apply for the funding. Earlier this month, Senator Collins led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, urging him to expedite the release of this funding for PPE.
The CARES Act included $100 million in supplemental funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to be used for the purchase of PPE, including for reimbursement of PPE expenses.
“First responders in Maine and throughout the country are on the front lines working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Collins. “I am continuing to work to increase supplies of personal protective equipment to help protect the health of all Mainers. This emergency funding will help provide firefighters with additional PPE to improve their safety while they continue to serve our communities.”
The Senators instructed FEMA to work quickly to develop guidance so that fire departments and other eligible organizations can prepare application materials and receive this urgent funding. Their letter also requested that the guidance ensures that departments are able to easily seek reimbursement from the AFG grant program for their PPE expenditures.
In addition to Senator Collins, the letter was signed by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Jon Tester (D-MT).