Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and United States Fire Administration (USFA) have awarded SeaTac City Fire Department a grant through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program for Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety.  The department is a first time applicant for federal funding and will use the funds to purchase mobile data computers for their fire engines.  These computers will be equipped with “pre-planning” software to electronically provide fire crews with essential information such as the nearest route to and geographical location of an incident, the location of water supplies, any area storage of hazardous materials, type of occupancy etc.  This will enable better on-site accountability and increased safety for fire fighters on the job. 

“This grant is a very exciting indication of the ways in which the federal government is helping local communities provide our firefighters with the tools they need to do their jobs safely and more efficiently,” Smith said.  “One of the challenges that our nation faced in the 9-11 tragedy was that our first responders lacked critical information, and as a result were unable to adequately assess the danger of a rapidly changing situation.  It’s just tremendous that with this help, our local fire companies are able to purchase cutting-edge computer equipment, which they couldn’t access otherwise, to help them be more effective in saving lives.  Our fire fighters are in many instances the first responders to many of our emergency situations and it’s important that we make sure that we’re taking care of them and helping them to do their jobs better.”

Awarded jointly by FEMA and USFA, the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant Program is designed to increase the effectiveness of fire fighting operations, fire fighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, EMS programs, and Fire Prevention and Safety Programs.  The SeaTac Fire Department received $75,510, 90 percent of the total cost of their project, for the purchase of new technology to help address firefighter safety issues and improve the basic fire fighting services they provide to the community.  

For more information about the SeaTac City Fire Department, contact Fire Chief Robert Meyer at (206) 824-2726.