U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) announced on September 20, 2019 that ten local fire departments will receive a total of $2,561,133 in funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“This federal funding will help protect those who are protecting us,” said Congressman Norcross. “We must do all we can to ensure our firefighters are as safe as possible when they are fighting fires, battling natural disasters and saving lives. This funding provides our first responders with the equipment and additional resources they need to best serve our communities day in and day out.”
From DHS’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program:
- $1,438,476 to Voorhees Township
- $418,400 to Berlin Fire Company
- $269,697 to Gloucester City Fire Department and Camden Fire Department
- $210,364 to Cherry Hill Fire District
- $106,363 to Washington Township Fire Department
- $42,073 to Gloucester Township Fire Department
- $34,285 to Hi-Nella Fire Company
- $22,428 to Glendora Volunteer Fire Company
- $19,047 to Bellmawr Fire Department
“The Voorhees Township Fire Department is excited about receiving an award notice from the 2019 Homeland Security FEMA AFG Grant,” said Louis J. Bordi, Chief of Police of Voorhees Township. “Protecting the public and our fire service personnel from fires and related hazards continues to be our highest priority.”
“I want to thank Congressman Norcross for his support to obtain this grant which will aide our communities and neighboring communities with providing needed man power during daytime hours where it is difficult to find available volunteers,” said Michael Kernan, Chief of the Berlin Fire Company. “The grant also provides funding to recruit and retain additional volunteers beyond the daytime hours and overall bolster the volunteer membership of both volunteer organizations, and ultimately ensure the safety of the community and neighboring community as we respond to calls throughout Camden County.”
“This will increase working relations/brotherhood between the two cities fire departments as they respond to mutual/automatic aid emergencies together,” said Patrick R. Hagan, Chief of Gloucester City Fire Department.
“When you consider the safety and wellbeing of a firefighter, the only thing greater than experience is training,” said Michael L. Harper, Chief of Camden Fire Department. “Because the fire service is evolving every day and presenting more risks for first responders our supervisors are challenged to keep our members current when operating in hazardous environments. To help with that we provide our fire officers with all the tools necessary to be effective leaders in the fire service. The FEMA AFG program that was supported by Congressman Norcross will help us to insure our fire officers are properly trained to perform their duties in field and in the station.”
“Receiving this award will allow for the purchase of 30 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), 45-minute SCBA cylinders and 56 high temperature face pieces,” said Chris Callan, Chief of Cherry Hill Fire Department. “The Cherry Hill Fire Department’s current supply is starting to become obsolete and problematic, which has caused an increase in repairs, parts, labor and downtime. SCBA is an essential component to firefighting and emergency response. Cherry Hill Firefighters will now be equipped with the safest, modern equipment available to do their jobs to protect the community they serve. Without the support of Congressman Norcross and Senator Booker receiving this grant would not have been possible.”
“We are ecstatic that we will continue to improve our facilities while increasing firefighter safety and wellness,” said Patrick Dolgos, Chief of Washington Township Fire Department. “Today firefighters face many issues and one of the most concerning is cancer. Fire apparatus diesel engines produce toxic gases and cancerous particulates. These station exhaust systems will prevent these carcinogens from entering living areas of the firehouse and more importantly will provide our volunteers and career staff a safer working environment. Special Credit goes to Captain Erik Wolf and Firefighter Chris Bittner for working on this project.
“This grant will provide much needed funding for the installation of a direct capture diesel exhaust removal system, thereby preventing exposure to the hazardous gases emitted by our diesel-powered apparatus,” said Michael Millisky, Chief of Gloucester Township Fire Department. “Our firefighters are our most valuable asset, and their health and safety is a top departmental priority. Congressman Norcross and his New Jersey colleagues have consistently advocated for adequate funding for the Federal Government’s AFG Grant Program.”
“The grant will be used to purchase new personal protective equipment that our firefighters wear while fighting fires and handling other emergencies,” said Brian Cunningham, Chief Hi-Nella Fire Department. “Thanks to Congressman Norcross and his staff who supported our efforts to obtain these funds; may he continue to advocate for funds supporting the AFG Program which benefits local fire departments.”
“We appreciate the continued support from our community in placing a concerted effort in reducing the risks of exposure and cancer to the firefighter’s health and safety,” said Chief James Burleigh, Chief of Bellmawr Fire Department. “Thank you to Congressman Norcross and his New Jersey colleagues for continuing to pursue adequate funding for the AFG Program, which has funded this grant and will be done at no cost to our taxpayers. This will enable the department to handle gear decontamination and cleaning in-house rather than utilizing an outside vendor which is a cost-savings to our borough.”
From the USDA Rural Development:
$40,000 to Westville Fire Department for two fifty-watt gas emergency generators.
Norcross added: “As we continue to see the devastating effects of this year’s hurricane season, specifically in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, we are reminded of just how important it is to always be prepared for Mother Nature’s worst.”
“In the wake of hurricane season, including all of the other frequent types of storms that we have been experiencing lately, this funding comes at a critical time for our department,” said Charles Murtaugh, Westville Fire District #1 Administrator. “This backup generator will ensure that our first responders are prepared for emergency situations whenever they may strike. Keeping with the continuity of government, when the municipal building loses power, we also intend to offer the use of the Fire District offices to the Borough of Westville essential employees, ensuring all of Westville’s government services can keep running to serve our taxpayers during a power outage, this can all happen now thanks to our new generator. We thank Congressman Norcross for always fighting for the safety of our community and pushing for grants that take some of the burden off of our taxpayers.”
The USDA’s Rural Development Office offers programs intended to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.
FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program has provided approximately $7.1 billion in grants to first-responder organizations since 2001. FEMA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It was created to assist people before, during and after disasters.