HOLY SMOKES: Jersey Shore Fire Department Lands $223K Federal Grant
A fire department in Monmouth County has received a federal grant to upgrade its equipment.
The Belmar Fire Department will receive $223,571 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to replace critical firefighter equipment that in some cases has become dangerously outdated, according to US Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican.
“The volunteer firefighters of the Belmar Fire Department put their lives on the line every day to protect people and property in the borough and in neighboring towns when fires and other emergencies arise,” said Smith, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.
“The self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to be purchased with these funds is absolutely critical to enabling firefighters to enter burning buildings and still be able to breathe. With the federal support, the town can properly protect its fire crews and continue providing quick and effective emergency response services to those in harm’s way," he said.
The Belmar Fire Department is an all-volunteer department that delivers primary fire protection and rescue services to Belmar’s 7,600 permanent residents—a figure that can grow to more than 50,000 seasonal residents over the summer. It is comprised of 40 members who make up the Union Fire Company, Goodwill Hose Company and Volunteer Hook and Ladder Fire Company.
The department has 39 complete SCBA sets that show a lot of wear and tear, but more than a dozen are completely out of service, with 18 more nearing the end of their serviceable life by next year, due to extensive use. The department plans to use the funds for 27 sets of SCBA. The borough will chip in a local cost share of $11,178.57 for the purchase.
Mayor Mark Walsifer said, “This is great news for both the Borough of Belmar and Borough of Lake Como. This endeavor will enhance our public safety for both the firefighters and our communities. Thank you to Congressman Chris Smith for the continued support in our efforts, as well as all our dedicated volunteers of the Belmar Fire Department.”
Administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, the AFG grant program supports fire departments with funds to help purchase needed equipment that would improve an applicant’s ability to protect the health and safety of the public.
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