March 08, 2005

Idaho Cities To Receive Fire Funds

Crapo applauds continuing grant awards

Washington, DC â?? Three more fire departments in Idaho will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. â??This is terrific news for the communities of Meridian, Challis and Salmon,â?? said Crapo. â??The addition of a firefighting vehicle for the North Custer Rural Fire District will enhance its ability to respond more effectively to fire and fire-related hazards in Challis and the surrounding area. The Meridian Fire Department will be able to better serve the fire prevention concerns of a growing suburban area, and the Salmon Fire Department will have additional fiscal tools to enhance firefighter safety and operations to combat rural fires.â?? According to the Department of Homeland Security, the North Custer Rural Fire District will receive $29,421 in federal matching funds; Meridian Fire District will receive $32,603; and, Salmon Fire District will receive $117,000.The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program has received an additional $390 million for Fiscal Year 2003. These ongoing grant awards are intended to increase the effectiveness of firefighting efforts, and augment EMS and safety and fire prevention programs throughout the nation. â??Fire departments in Idaho benefit significantly from federal grant programs such as this one. Many struggle to provide comprehensive services to the communities they serve, and federal funds fill in the financial gaps,â?? noted Crapo. In 2003, there are four programs supported by the Assistance to Firefighter Grant, including the Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety Program, the Fire Prevention Program, the Emergency Medical Services Program, and the Firefighting Vehicles Acquisition Program. According to the Department of Homeland Security, funding priorities for each of the activities were based on recommendations from nine major fire service organizations. The applications were peer-reviewed for compatibility with funding priorities, with selections completed by early May.The Department of Homeland Security required applicants to demonstrate financial need, and outline the benefits that would be gained if given the money. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a cost-share of 10 percent, and grantees serving jurisdictions of more than 50,000 must provide a 30 percent cost-share.# # #