Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that ten fire departments throughout Maine have been awarded a total of $81,503 to upgrade protective equipment and support personnel. The funding—awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program— will help to provide critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel, enhance efficiencies, and support community resilience.
“Firefighters and fire support staff put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This important investment will help to ensure that Maine fire departments have the necessary equipment and personnel to continue to keep our families and communities safe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The funding was allocated as follows:
· Aurora Volunteer Fire Department received $1,213.29;
· Oakland, Albion, Clinton, Fairfield, Waterville, and Winslow Fire Departments received $32,653.82;
· Presque Isle Fire Department received $13,285.71;
· Rockland Fire Department and EMS received $9,738.10; and
· Westbrook Fire Rescue Department received $24,612.95.
As co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins has been a longstanding advocate for Maine's first responders. Senator Collins annually leads a bipartisan group urging robust funding for FEMA’s firefighter grant programs, which she helped create in 2003. The fiscal year 2021 funding package included $360 million each for both AFG and the SAFER grant program. Senator Collins also led efforts in April to quickly make available $100 million in emergency funding from the CARES Act for firefighters to purchase personal protective equipment.