New Jersey fire departments receive $20 million in grants for equipment and safety

March 12, 2024

Murphy administration allocates $20 million to New Jersey fire departments

The Murphy administration has announced the award of $20 million in American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grants to 353 fire departments across New Jersey.

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) distributed these grants following a competitive application process.

The initiative aims to ensure that firefighters have access to essential protective, cleaning, and sanitization equipment.

Second cycle of American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grants benefits 353 departments

This announcement marks the second allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Firefighter Grants by the Murphy Administration.

In November 2022, the DCA had awarded $10 million to 293 fire departments.

Governor Phil Murphy expressed his satisfaction with the increase in funds, stating: “I am pleased that my Administration was able to double the allocation of ARP funds in this year’s budget from $10 million to $20 million to fire departments, which provide critical, life-saving services in our communities.”

He further emphasized the program’s significance in aiding local governments to equip firefighters without financial strain.

Governor Murphy and DCA Acting Commissioner highlight the importance of the grant

Governor Murphy acknowledged the role of state and federal legislators in supporting the program.

DCA Acting Commissioner Jacquelyn A. Suárez highlighted the challenges faced by fire departments in replacing equipment due to high costs and financial constraints.

She said: “The American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grants give fire departments the ability to purchase the equipment they need to protect our communities and keep themselves safe.”

Long-standing support for New Jersey fire departments

New Jersey has consistently supported its fire departments through budget allocations and task force creation for fire safety.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, applauded the allocation of funds.

He said: “I fought to include funding for our first responders in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and I am glad to see the funds put to use for our firefighters.”

Fire departments to utilize grant for essential equipment

The grant will assist fire departments in covering the costs associated with various equipment, including protective clothing, cleaning equipment, breathing apparatuses, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other necessary items as determined by the DCA’s Division of Local Government Services (DLGS).

A full list of grant recipients is available on DCA’s website.

Grant application process and criteria

To qualify for the grant, applicants had to describe the intended use of the funding, list key personnel managing the grant funds and equipment purchase, and submit a governing body resolution.

Applications were reviewed based on the scope of need, commitment to firefighter protection, and other criteria.

Firefighter grants are reimbursement-based

The American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grants operate on a reimbursement basis.

Eligible costs are reimbursed to fire departments upon submission of evidence of payment for qualifying expenses.

State officials comment on the impact of the grants

State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky emphasized the importance of safe gear for firefighters’ health.

Ed Donnelly, President of NJ FMBA, and Robert F. Ordway, President of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association, highlighted the grants’ role in protecting firefighters’ health and safety.

Matthew Caliente, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, expressed gratitude for the funding, stating: “Governor Murphy consistently prioritizes the safety of our members, and for that, we express our gratitude.”

FSJA Comment

The allocation of $20 million in American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grants to New Jersey’s fire departments reflects a significant effort to enhance the safety and effectiveness of firefighters across the state.

This funding addresses critical needs for protective and cleaning equipment, which are essential in maintaining the health and operational capacity of these first responders.

The collaboration between state and federal entities in securing and distributing these funds demonstrates a strong commitment to public safety and the well-being of firefighters, who often face hazardous conditions in their line of duty

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