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Your Money: New Jersey fire departments receive millions in grants

(The Center Square) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently awarded more than $1.5 million to eight fire departments across New Jersey.

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The money announced on Sept. 3 is part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The money goes to fire departments, state fire training academies and emergency medical service organizations.

“These grants are vital to assist fire companies in [guaranteeing] that they have the equipment and resources necessary to ensure public safety,” U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., said in a statement.

The federal grants range in value from $1,827 to the Township of Saddle Brook for operations and safety to $727,272 to the Borough of Cliffside Park for vehicle acquisition.

So far, in 2021, 63 New Jersey fire departments have received a total of more than $5.3 million. Grants averaged nearly $85,000 per award.

According to FEMA data, since April 2015, New Jersey fire departments have received 449 grants totaling more than $55 million. Nationally, FEMA has awarded 1,878 grants totaling $297.9 million in fiscal 2020.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., sponsored the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, creating the grants. Since it launched two decades ago, the program has awarded more than $9.2 billion to fire departments nationwide and $198.5 to New Jersey fire departments.

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