Barletta Announces Federal Grants for Six Local Fire Departments
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that six local fire departments in Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District will receive a total of $538,403 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
The Hunlock Creek Fire Department will receive a $15,239 grant, the Lake Carey Volunteer Fire Company will receive a $41,388 grant, the Mocanaqua Volunteer Fire Company #1 will receive a $7,822 grant, the Wright Township Volunteer Firemens Association will receive a $141,715 grant, the Washington Fire Company will receive a $96,429 grant, and the Hazle Township Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company will receive a $235,810 grant.
“When I talk with volunteers at fire departments across the 11th District, I consistently hear about the funding and personnel challenges they face,” Barletta said. “Our fire departments and emergency responders are the first line of defense in our neighborhoods when disaster strikes, and this grant will go a long way toward ensuring that our local residents – and their homes and businesses – are protected.”
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.
“We must do everything we can 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 AFG program, having made repeated requests to House Appropriations Committee leaders for continued support and funding. He has worked to provide hard-earned 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 volunteer 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 throughout the 11th District, Barletta usually begins his visit with a stop at the local fire house.
For more information on the AFG program, please visit https://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program. Additionally, interested organizations may contact Mike Shay at Rep. Barletta’s Hazleton office at (570) 751-0050 or by email at Michael.Shay@mail.house.gov.