WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced that three local fire departments in Ohio’s 14th District will receive over $263,202 through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. The fire departments receiving these funds are located in Chagrin Falls, Stow and Willoughby. Dave has been a longtime champion of the AFG program, having personally advocated on behalf of the program to leadership at FEMA and having previously voted to increase the program’s funding.
“Our fire departments and emergency responders are the first line of defense in our communities when disaster strikes,” said Dave. “However, when I talk with firefighters across Northeast Ohio, I consistently hear about the funding and personnel challenges their departments face. We need to do everything we can so that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our families and communities safe are protected and adequately equipped while on the job. I’m proud to support the AFG program and will continue to ensure our local fire departments have the personnel, equipment and training needed to do their jobs as safely as possible.”
“We are very excited about the FEMA AFG award we will be receiving,” said Chagrin Falls Fire Captain John Catani. “As a regionalized department for the last 122 years, our budget and capital costs are very tight with the goal of delivering a high-quality service at a relatively low cost to the six communities we serve. This award will help us to protect our own members from the diesel exhaust fumes, which is part of an initiative in our department to decrease our exposure to carcinogens at fires and within our station.”
“Most departments have limited funds for these types of projects and the Chagrin Falls fire department is no exception,” said Chagrin Falls Fire Chief Frank Zugan. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive funding from the AFG program and support from Representatives like Congressman Dave Joyce.”
“The Stow Fire Department is very pleased to be the recipient of this grant, which will be used to replace our aging thermal imaging cameras (TICs) with newer, more reliable technology,” said Stow Fire Chief Mark Stone. “TICs allow firefighters to fight fires more effectively by ‘looking through’ the smoke and allowing our personnel to see the source of the heat. If firefighters can see the source of heat and fire, they will be less likely to be injured and can perform rescue operations with greater efficiency. We appreciate the support Congressman Joyce has had for the AFG program over the years as we have been fortunate in Stow to receive funds which have helped make us a better equipped fire department. More importantly, the AFG program over the years has made our department a safer place to work and our community a better place to live.”
“The City of Willoughby is delighted to receive these significant AFG funds,” said Willoughby Mayor Robert Fiala. “The installation of a source capture exhaust extract system (SCES) will have a positive effect on daily operations by ensuring firefighters, staff and visitors have a facility with clean air. Sadly, the Firefighters Cancer Support Training has documented more cancer cases in the past two years than the previous ten years. The SCES, which will be utilized each and every time a vehicle is started or responds to an emergency, will help remove the known risk of exposure to cancer-causing vehicle exhaust, providing a safer building and work environment for the community and Willoughby firefighters. We would like to thank Chief Todd Ungar and Fire Captain Mike Kocab for their continued efforts in securing these important grants for our Fire Department.”
The primary goal of the AFG program is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, the AFG program has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
For more information on the AFG program, please visit https://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program. Applicants can also receive assistance by contacting the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. Additionally, interested organizations may contact Dave’s Mentor office at (440) 352-3939.