State Rep. Brad Halbrook is pleased to announce that the Small Firefighting and Ambulance Service Equipment Grants announced this week include $108,424.25 for communities in his district. Tolono Fire Protection District in Champaign County will receive $18,300; Fairmount Fire Department in Vermilion County will receive $14,640; and in Shelby County, the Windsor Area Ambulance Service will receive $23,800, Windsor Fire Protection District will receive $25,908, and the Findlay Fire Protection District will be receiving $25,076.25.
“This Small Equipment Grant Program is an important funding source for our rural communities,” said Rep. Brad Halbrook. “When the tax base is smaller than in the big cities, it is a bigger challenge to afford the equipment used by fire and ambulance services. These grants are truly life savers for our area.”
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.
“This year we had over 400 fire departments from across the state apply for a grant,” State Fire Marshall Matt 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.
Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply. All fire department, fire protection district and township fire department applicants were required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of two years prior to applying.