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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) has been awarded $343,000 in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The funding will be used to purchase new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for technical rescue and structural firefighting gear and a mobile training tower.
“Our fire services personnel risk their lives every day to protect our communities and it is vital that they have proper equipment and quality training facilities to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Governor Northam. “These federal dollars are essential to our ability to support firefighters across the Commonwealth, and I commend the Department of Fire Programs for its consistent effort in securing federal funding for three consecutive years.”
The mobile training tower will be utilized for remote training throughout Virginia, an advantage for localities that cannot afford their own training building. The tower will be at least three-stories and equipped with apparatus and simulation capabilities for self-rescue, firefighter rescue, rescue from confined spaces, and elevated rescues with fire trucks and various lengths of ground ladders. The tower can be taken apart and reassembled as needed.
“Ensuring our fire fighters are equipped with the latest gear is critical to the safety of these brave first responders,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Proper equipment will not only further allow our firefighters to train more effectively and efficiently as they prepare for the ever-evolving threats faced daily, but ensure safer outcomes in the performance of their duty to protect our Commonwealth’s citizens.”
VDFP has obtained a total of $927,640 of federal funding during the past three AFG program cycles, beginning in 2016. In this time, VDFP will replace a total of 321 sets of turnout gear, exceeding the initial commitment of 314 sets of turnout gear announced in 2016.
“Securing this funding aligns Fire Programs with Governor Northam’s mandate to provide training and education, and the purchase of products to reduce cancer risks among firefighters in the Commonwealth,” said VDFP Executive Director Michael Reilly. “The work on this grant is a testament to our persistent and unwavering commitment to remain innovative and advance our training curriculum forward.”
VDFP is to provide $51,450 in matching funds and has 12 months to complete the purchases under the grant.
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