"Going for the Green" - How to Win Grant Money Pt 4

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On April 7 at 5 p.m. the application period for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program FY2006 will close. In the fourth and final part of the 'Going for the Green' Podcast series, Radio@Firehouse speaks with three Congressional leaders who helped create the program; Congressmen Steny Hoyer (MD), and Curt Weldon (PA), Senator Mike DeWine (OH).

These federal leaders know the value of these grant programs and you can listen to the discussion as they put their support behind you and your department. "If we're going to keep America safe, it is because we have people at the local level who will be the first responders to any kind of crisis who will be well prepared, well equipped, well training and in sufficient numbers to respond to the crisis," said Congressman Hoyer.

A long-time supporter of the fire service, Congressman Hoyer is currently a co-chair of the Congressional Fire Service Caucus. Speaking of this year's program and the current administration?s budget, Hoyer said, "I was deeply disappointed that he [President Bush] didn't fully fund the fire grant program in his budget, nor the SAFER programs."

Hoyer tells Radio@Firehouse, "In the SAFER program, the president included no money. This is in an area, of course, where we have the biggest problems in understaffing. The SAFER program was directed at solving that problem. Unfortunately the president again believes that it's totally a local responsibility." In response, with the other co-chairs of the Caucus, Hoyer says, "We have asked the budget committee to add $700 million for the fire grant and $500 million for SAFER in the house budget resolution."

We also spoke with former fire chief, Congressman Curt Weldon. "The fire service, when I got involved and in the years when I was active, was disjointed. The union would fight with the volunteers and the union and volunteers would fight with the chief. The NFPA would do its own thing and they would all go about what was doing what was best for them. The first goal was to bring everyone together."

In the six years since the FIRE Act was started, Weldon says at about 22,000 of the 32,000 Fire/Rescue and EMS departments in America have been awarded at least one grant. "We took the politics out of this grant process. It's the only federal grant program where the actual firefighters and the beneficiaries themselves, rate the applications. And for those who have not won, I'd say keep trying."

Radio@Firehouse also spoke with Senator Mike Dewine. "I saw a real problem, as some of my colleagues in the house, as I traveled around Ohio. We have so many small fire departments along with mid and large-sized ones. A lot of them were having problems and struggling with money, not being able to really get the basic equipment that they needed. And I wanted to try and help. In the Senate, Chris Dodd and I tried to introduce the FIRE Act and we got a lot of skepticism about it."

Dewine sums it up describing the real meaning of the program. "It's been an amazing program. I've seen in my own state what has been done. We have seen department after department where it has really made a big, big difference. I was at a department the other day for an example. They didn't even have turnout gear for every member of the department until the FIRE Act came along and now they have individualized turnout gear."

Join Brian Vickers and his special guests on Radio@Firehouse.com, and help your department win grant money!

How to Win Grant Money Coverage:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Related Information:

Congressman Curt Weldon

Steny Hoyer

Senator Mike DeWine


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