Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, announced 450 grants to fire departments throughout the U.S. in the seventh round of the 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
Thirteen of these departments were located in Indiana, one of which was the Brazil City Fire Department. It received an award of $84,078 for use towards fire operations and firefighter safety.
So far, through the seven rounds of the 2003 grant process, 34 Indiana departments have been awarded this significant assistance.
This type of assistance is determined, among other things, by the clarity of the narrative portion of the application, the financial need of the department and the benefits that would result from the award. Many departments apply for these funds, but there is a limited amount of money appropriated for this grant program.
This is not the first award received from this program by the Brazil Fire Department. In 2001, they received an award equaling $200,000 to purchase a new pumper truck. The chances of receiving that award were even more rare than this year's award. Only one out of every 10 applicants that requested assistance for a vehicle received an award in 2001. Some 19,000 departments across the U.S. applied for vehicles in 2001. Only 1,900 were awarded. Brazil received one of those 1,900.
This 2003 award is notable, especially to small departments such as Brazil. This grant will improve firefighter and fire ground safety for the Brazil Firefighters by making funds available to purchase turnout gear and equipment such as coats, bunker pants, helmets, gloves and protective hoods for the entire department.
It will also establish a system of replacement for such equipment, bringing Brazil's department in compliance with certain OSHA standards. It further enhances safety and fire protection by providing money to purchase state-of-the-art air packs with increased capacity for breathing air. These air packs will come with NFPA standard integrated safety devices, bringing the department up to a national standard in that particular area.
Equipment to service these new air packs will also be purchased from this grant award. A new breathing air compressor and cascade system will be purchased and put into service. This will make the department safer and better equipped.
Without the Assistance to Firefighters program, the Brazil Fire Department would have had to budget for this type of cost for compliance to OSHA requirements. It is doubtful they would have been able to afford this needed equipment. This type of assistance will improve fire protection and, at the same time, save the city money.