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Senator Cochran: Federal money to aid Mississippi firefighters

photo courtesy Telesouth Communications, Inc.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has reported that four grants worth almost $600,000 have been approved to help prepare and equip firefighters in Mississippi.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) have been approved for the Mississippi State Fire Academy, Jackson ($391,305), Greenwood Fire Department ($149,846), Glen Volunteer Fire Department ($37,330), and Beaver Lake Fire Protection District in Purvis ($20,378).  The funding will be used to acquire new equipment and training for first responders.

“These grants are intended to enhance the readiness and capabilities of our local fire departments.  I hope these federal funds will help improve public safety,” Cochran said.

The AFG operations and safety grants awarded to Greenwood, Glen, and Purvis can be used for professional training, protective equipment, facility modifications, and supplies that support firefighting.  The fire academy grant will support vehicle acquisition.

AFG grants, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration, are awarded based on a competitive process overseen by fire service experts.  Additional rounds of FY2016 grants are expected to be made by FEMA.

FEMA is 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 for research and development projects to enhance firefighter health and safety.

Cochran, who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on the subcommittee with jurisdiction over FEMA, reported that the recently-enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act provides $345 million for the AFG program in FY2017.

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