January 05, 2011

Rockefeller, Manchin, Rahall Announce $784,326 in Funding for Fire Departments Across West Virginia

Federal Funds Awarded Through Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III, (both D-W.Va.), along with Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), today announced that the following fire departments will receive a total of $784,326 as part of the fifth round of funding under the 2010 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

The following fire departments were awarded grants:      

Rainelle Volunteer Fire Department ($63,935)

Benwood Volunteer Fire Department ($570,000)

West Hamlin Volunteer Fire Department ($50,198)

Sherrard Volunteer Fire Department ($61,433)

Bluefield Fire Department ($38,760)

This funding will assist with updating safety equipment. The Benwood Volunteer Fire Department grant will go toward vehicle acquisition.

“The people of West Virginia count on first responders to be therefore our communities – their jobs are among the most important in the country and we thank them for their incredible service,” said Rockefeller.  “The funding provided by this grant is great news and will supply our brave fire fighters with the tools and equipment they need to keep us safe.”

"The hardworking men and women at our local fire departments fill a critical public safety need for West Virginia and our families, and the Department of Homeland Security is providing them with badly needed resources to continue keeping all of us safe," Senator Manchin said.

"Our firefighters and first responders often are the difference between a life saved and a life lost," Rahall said. "These grants provide critical support for our communities and will help ensure the safety and security of those who risk their lives to protect and save ours."

For Fiscal Year 2010, the AFG program will award nearly $340 million in direct assistance to fire department and emergency medical service organizations to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations and emergency response capabilities. Funding can be used to purchase response equipment, personal protective equipment and vehicles.

To date, West Virginia has received a total of $1,670,998 through the AFG program in Fiscal Year 2010.  Earlier awards were made to Folsom Volunteer Fire Department for $7,922, Rhodell Volunteer Fire Department for $261,250, and Weston Volunteer Fire Department for $617,500.

AFG grants are funded through the annual Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Rockefeller has consistently supported funding for this program and for other grant programs to ensure adequate funding and resources for America’s first responders.