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True Statewide Interoperability

Written by Phil Bates

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the start of the fiscal year 2007 application period for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. More than $492.3 million will be awarded this year to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency management organizations across the nation, bringing the total provided through this program since 2004 to about $2.2 billion. “America’s firefighters play a pivotal role in keeping our communities safe and our country secure,” said Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. “Local fire departments respond to a wide array of emergencies every day that require special skills, the safest equipment and place responders at great risk of injury and death. The AFG program provides federal resources to supplement local commitments toward ensuring the ability of America’s fire service to be ready for the full range of 21st century risks.” AFG awards assist first-responder organizations in buying response equipment, personal protective equipment, and vehicles. Awards are allocated through two AFG programs. The Operations and Safety program prioritizes funding for activities such as training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and health and safety modifications to stations and facilities. The vehicle acquisition program prioritizes funding for assets such as brush trucks, tankers and tenders, rescue vehicles, ambulances, aerials, foam units, and fireboats. AFG awards are determined on a competitive basis. Fire service professionals representing the nine major fire service organizations select the applications that best fulfill AFG program priorities. Applicants will be encouraged to submit projects that involve more than one jurisdiction and further integrate regional response capabilities. n Photos by Christy Whitehead.

Published in Law and Order, Oct 2006

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