Mill Spring Fire Dept. receives $156k federal grant

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a $156,603 federal grant to help it meet firefighting and emergency response needs.

The department was one of nine in North Carolina to receive an Operations and Safety fire grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, according to U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who announced the grants last week.

&dquo;The AFG grants are essential in keeping our firefighters and first responders prepared,&dquo; said Hagan. &dquo;These hardworking men and women sacrifice so much for the citizens for North Carolina, and this money will help them maintain the most up-to-date technology and equipment. I am so proud of our state&squo;s brave first responders and I look forward to supporting their work as a U.S. senator.&dquo; &bsp;

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The Mill Spring Fire Department received the second largest grant in the group. A total of $707,023 in AFG funding was announced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for North Carolina fire departments and emergency medical services organizations.

The AFG program has three types of awards: Fire Grants, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants and Fire Prevention and Safety grants (FP&S). The $707,023 in grants will be in the form of Fire Grants. Fire Grants are allocated to fund firefighting and emergency response needs and to support multi-organization regional projects that fall under more than one local jurisdiction. The FY2008 AFG awards will ultimately distribute $500 million to fire departments around the country.

&dquo;The right training and equipment, when matched with the courage of our first responders, will make communities safer,&dquo; said FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May. &dquo;These AFG funds will help give the firefighters and emergency medical service personnel who serve our nation the tools necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively.&dquo;

This is the second federal grant the Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Department has received this year. In February the department was awarded a $235,154 SAFER grant to help it recruit and retain volunteer firefighters. The SAFER grant is also part of FEMA&squo;s AFG program. The money will be available over a four-year period starting immediately.

Trent Carswell, chief of the Mill Spring department, said the funds will be used to recruit new firefighters ‐ especially women and minorities ‐ and to provide incentives for the men and women who respond to emergencies in the department&squo;s