Governor Phil Murphy visited the Hackensack Fire Department today to announce the new American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant Program, which will help local and regional fire departments provide first responders with proper protective, cleaning, and sanitization equipment.
The Firefighter Grant Program will enable fire departments to better protect their employees not just against fires and other hazards on the front lines of emergency responses, but against deadly pathogens as well. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, firefighters have faced additional health and safety risks and a growing need for an array of high-quality equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and toxic-chemical-free clothing ensembles, helmets, gloves, and boots.
“Confronted by new challenges and obstacles throughout the pandemic, New Jersey’s firefighters remained unflagging in their commitment to the safety of their neighbors,” said Governor Murphy. “The American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant Program will help New Jersey fulfill its responsibility to these heroes, whose courage and selflessness in the face of danger demand no less. By launching this program, we demonstrate our commitment to safety and peace of mind for those who are entrusted with our protection.”
Grants of up to $75,000 will be administered by the Division of Local Government Services within the Department of Community Affairs, and the program will be funded by $10 million in American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds. Grant awards will prioritize volunteer fire departments, as well as departments in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Firefighters have been working on the front lines with our health care and law enforcement professionals throughout this pandemic, and Governor Murphy and I are grateful for the heroic work they do every day to save lives,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The Firefighter Grant Program is going to help provide them with the essential resources they need to ensure their safety and well-being so they can continue to do their jobs.”
“We’re now clawing back even more federal dollars to support our local fire departments and first responders, particularly for our smaller ones where resources are even more stretched. This critical investment will not only keep our communities, families, and brave first responders safe, but it will also help lower our property taxes and make life more affordable for Jersey families,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “The new American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant program claws critical federal resources back from Washington for Jersey fire departments – to protect our communities, our families, firefighters, and EMTs. We must always get the backs of our first responders.”
“As a two-time fire chief with over 46 years of experience in the fire service, I understand how critically important it is for first responders to have the resources and tools necessary to perform on a moment’s notice and at the highest level,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “I applaud Governor Murphy and his administration’s commitment to the fire response community through the new American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant Program, which will provide essential funding to our local and regional departments across New Jersey.”
In addition to elected officials representing Hackensack residents at the local and federal levels, community leaders and members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ), the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJ FMBA), and the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association attended today’s announcement.
“The health and safety of firefighters is the number one priority of this IAFF,” said IAFF General President Edward Kelly. “On behalf of the 327,000 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, and especially our brothers and sisters in the Garden State, I want to thank Governor Murphy for the creation of the Firefighter Grant Program. Today’s announcement is more proof of what we have known for years; Governor Murphy cares for firefighters, and our families and New Jersey’s communities are better off for his leadership.”
“The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) is proud to have sat at the table with Governor Murphy and his team to develop this necessary and valuable grant program,” said PFANJ President Steve McConlogue. “Firefighters and EMS professionals are on the front lines every day, protecting the citizens before and during the Covid19 pandemic, and we will be there every day moving forward. We are appreciative of this administration’s continued support of fire and EMS in New Jersey.”
“The NJ FMBA thanks Governor Murphy for his continued support of New Jersey’s first responders,” said NJ FMBA President Ed Donnelly. “Our members are the first line of defense for our great State. This grant will help ensure our men and women are protected from carcinogens and viral outbreaks while performing our duties.”
“Firefighter health and safety is our top priority,” said New Jersey State Firemen’s Association President Robert Ordway. “This grant program will go a long way in supporting the well-being of our NJ State Firefighter’s Association members who serve in career and volunteer departments. We applaud Governor Murphy for his leadership and thank everyone involved for this important program. Access to new equipment and continued training will help protect the health and safety of firefighters throughout NJ.”