The Fort Smith Fire Department was awarded a grant Wednesday (June 25) that will allow it to purchase breathing apparatuses and face masks.
The grant was announced by U.S. Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., along with U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, according to a press release from the three members of Arkansas' six-member congressional delegation.
The grant's total cost is $689,572 and was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
“This grant will help Fort Smith ensure the safety of its firefighters while they put themselves at risk to protect the community. The men and women at the Fort Smith Fire Department perform a dangerous job, and it is crucial that they have the critical tools and equipment they need to save lives and stay safe in extremely hazardous conditions,” Boozman said.
“Arkansas firefighters put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep our families safe,” Pryor said. “These resources will help equip our first responders at the Fort Smith Fire Department with life-saving equipment to perform their work as swiftly and safely as possible.”
“I am extremely grateful for the Fort Smith Fire Department and am glad to announce they will receive this grant. It will allow the department to purchase the equipment necessary to protect our firefighters while they are busy doing what they – and firefighters across the Third District and the country – do every day: protect us,” Womack said.
The AFG Program falls under the oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and "provides fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations with the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel," the press release said.
The program awarded more than $288 million in grants to local fire departments, like Fort Smith's, and EMS organizations last year, according to the press release.