On July 17, the office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and Gov. Rauner announced the recipients of the Small Firefighting and Ambulance Service Equipment Grant Program, also known as the Small Equipment Grant Program.
One hundred fire departments and nonprofit ambulance services across the state received grants for the purchase of safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus and other needed tools. The money for this grant comes from the Fire Prevention Fund. The grants total $2.2 million, with each recipient receiving up to $26,000.
Gov. Rauner congratulated the fire chiefs in attendance for the grant announcement and recognized the risks that first responders take daily.
“Firefighters do not hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way to battle fires, to save lives and to keep us safe,” said Rauner. “It is our job to ensure they have the equipment needed to stay safe. This grant ensures fire departments are better equipped, allowing first responders to more effectively and safely do their jobs.”
State Fire Marshal Matt Perez discussed the grant’s importance.
“This year we had over 400 fire departments from across the state apply for a grant,” Perez said. “The requests for grants totaled over $9 million. We had $2.2 million in funds to award and we ensured that the neediest stations across the state received the money to ensure the safety of the men and women that protect their cities. It is imperative that we continue to find ways to aid the men and women that respond first in a disaster and always put the lives of others before their own.”
This year, research conducted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Research Center led OSFM to evaluate new needs. The research on cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks faced by firefighters prompted the inclusion of gear washers as acceptable purchases in this year’s grant application cycle.