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Mississippi fire departments to receive federal boost

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has reported that four fire departments in Mississippi have been awarded nearly $700,000 in federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) to improve their ability to serve the public.

In its latest round of grant awards, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved vehicle acquisition funding for the Greenville Fire Department ($156,364) and the Stringer Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) in Jasper County ($251,429).  Two AFG operations and safety grants have been approved for the Oxford Fire Department ($267,728) and the Troy-Woodland Volunteer Fire Department in Pontotoc County ($19,810).

“Well trained and equipped fire departments are important to ensure public safety.  I’m pleased federal funding has been approved to help these departments prepare for emergency situations,” said Cochran, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over FEMA funding.

Vehicle acquisition funding may be used to purchase pumpers, aerials, brush trucks, tankers/tenders, rescue vehicles, and ambulances.  AFG operations and safety grants can be used for professional training, protective equipment, facility modifications, and supplies that support firefighting.

FEMA is in the process of distributing $310.5 million appropriated by Congress for FY2016 AFG awards.  The agency also has an additional $34.5 million available for the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program for research and development projects to enhance firefighter health and safety.

Since May, AFG grants awarded to Mississippi include:  Beaver Lake Fire Protection District ($20,378), Dry Creek VFD ($25,000), Greenville Fire Department ($149,846), Glen VFD ($37,330), City of Laurel ($247,805), Madden VFD ($49,524), Metcalfe VFD ($16,578), Mississippi State Fire Academy ($391,305 – vehicle acquisition), Mt. Olive VFD ($41,334), New Site VFD ($94,783), Noxapater VFD ($40,858), Powers VFD ($70,343), Southaven Fire Department ($64,637), and Walthall VFD ($105,715).

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