Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) congratulated Pierce County Fire Department District 17 on being awarded a $291,393 grant from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Fire Administration.

“This money is critical to improving the safety conditions and efficiency of our firefighters. Over the last couple years, this program has become increasingly competitive and I applaud the department for its efforts in receiving this grant.” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The funding will not only protect the health and well-being of our firefighters, it will also improve their ability to protect the health and well-being of the residents they serve. Our nation’s fire departments are the first responders to almost every emergency situation and sometimes communities struggle to find the funding necessary to ensure their local fire departments function as safely and efficiently as possible. This grant program is one of the ways that we can help to ensure they have the funding necessary to protect our communities and themselves.”

The grant will provide funding to purchase new radio devices to improve communication and install an exhaust removal system in all four of its stations. Currently, the department has no formal exhaust removal system. The new systems will dramatically reduce firefighters’ exposure to harmful toxins released by vehicle exhaust and trapped in the garage. The new radios will significantly increase communication abilities within the department and allow emergency response to be coordinated more effectively.

The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and emergency medical services organizations. The grant, which has existed since 2001, helps firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The grant is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.