Barletta Announces Federal Grants for Local Fire Departments
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that two local fire departments will receive $187,468 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
The Shavertown Volunteer Fire Company will receive a $144,610 grant, and the Liberty Hose Company No. 2 in Lykens will receive a $42,858 grant.
“When I talk with volunteers at fire departments across the 11th District, I constantly hear about the funding and personnel challenges they face,” Barletta said. “These grants will go a long way toward helping our first responders in Shavertown and Lykens attract more and more dedicated public servants to protect their fellow citizens.”
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, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
“We must do anything we can do to help people be safe in our communities, and I remain proud to support funding for our local fire departments,” Barletta said.
Barletta has been a longtime supporter of the Assistance to Firefighter Grants program, having made repeated requests to House Appropriations Committee leaders for continued support and funding. He has promoted the support of benefits for first responders, particularly those who directly suffered the effects of September 11, 2001. In addition, Barletta successfully led the fight to protect volunteer fire and emergency companies from the ravages of Obamacare, which could have caused many stations to close their doors because of financial burdens associated with the employer mandate provision. Under pressure from Barletta, the Internal Revenue Service changed its rule governing the employer mandate and specifically exempted firefighters from Obamacare, though Barletta continues to pursue legislation to formalize it in federal law. For his efforts, Barletta was named 2014 Legislator of the Year by the National Volunteer Fire Council. When embarking on one of his Main Street Tours of the 11th District, Barletta usually begins his visit with a stop at the local fire house.