OBSERVER Staff Report
Congressman Brian Higgins was at the Fredonia Fire Department Monday afternoon to announce that he will host two workshops for local firefighters interested in applying for federal fire grant funding through the United States Department of Homeland Security. Members of Fredonia's fire department, including Kurt Maytum, John Sullivan, and Joe Cerrie as well as Fredonia Mayor Steven Keefe were present. In addition to Higgins, Sullivan and Keefe spoke briefly.
The workshop for Chautauqua County will be held June 27 at 7 p.m. at SUNY Fredonia in W101 Thompson Hall. Parking will be available in the lot immediately across Academic Avenue as well as on Symphony Circle.
The Erie County Workshop will be held June 28 at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church Hall, 200 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga.
At the workshop, participants will learn first-hand from a Department of Homeland Security Fire Grant Specialist how to put together a qualifying application. All applications are then submitted to DHS and go through a non-partisan, merit based review ranking using factors established by a panel of fire service professionals.
"The federal fire grant process is highly competitive and will get more so as resources become limited," said Higgins, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Our workshops give local firefighters the best opportunity to try to bring these federal dollars home."
Congressman Brian Higgins visited the Fredonia Fire Department Monday to announce he will host two workshops for local firefighters interested in applying for federal fire grant funding through the United States Department of Homeland Security.
In the last six years, fire companies in Higgins' district have received nearly $14.7 million. Chautauqua County stations have received over 50 awards totaling more than $3.5 million. Erie County departments have received about 100 awards totaling over $11.1 million.
In fiscal year 2011 Congress appropriated $370 million for the AFG program for competitive grants to fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, and to establish or expand fire prevention programs throughout the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness administers the program in cooperation with the U. S. Fire Administration. There are 1.1 million active firefighters in the United States, 73 percent of which are volunteers.
For more information on the fire grant program, visit the federal fire grant website at www.firegrantsupport.com/ or contact Congressman Higgins' Buffalo office at 852-3501.