Fire departments receive federal money to help reduce and respond to blazes
| 10.09.2006 | 05:55:37 | Views: 3162 | ID:
October 9 '06: Grants to firefighters around the country from homeland security funds will total close to $485 million in the 2006 fiscal year, according to Department of Homeland Security press releases and announcements. The grants are a part of a larger DHS-led program called the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program that is working to coordinate the national level of preparedness and response of firefighters.
According to the AFG's website, the main goal of the program is to help "meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations." The AFG works with the Office of Grants and Training located inside DHS which administers the grant moneys once they are awarded.The announcement of the awards comes during National Fire Prevention Week, while October is National Fire Prevention Month according to the Ready.gov website. Federal assistance for firefighting is likely to increase, especially in the Western states, because of increased fire activity. Total costs alone for 2006 have reached $1.5 billion according to the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. The 2006 season also marks the fourth time in the last seven years that total costs have exceeded $1.3 billion. To help coordinate wildfire fighting, the National Interagency Fire Center coordinates and facilitates interstate fire fighting and resource allocation. Working with multiple federal agencies under the aegis of the Department of the Interior, the NIFC serves as a central command and operations center. As the cost of fire fighting increases in the Western states the federal government's AFG has provided approximately $27 million "for fire prevention and safety or research and development activities ... to national, state, local or community organizations or agencies, including fire departments, for the purpose of carrying out fire prevention and injury prevention programs." Meanwhile federal efforts are underway to "remove brush and debris that fuels fire from around communities that border forests, as well as better planning by local fire departments to protect residential areas," the Great Falls Tribune reported.
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