Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and United States Fire Administration (USFA) have awarded Central Pierce Fire and Rescue and the Pierce County Fire District No. 11 grants through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program for Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety.  Both fire units are first-time applicants for federal funding and both received extraordinary award packages from FEMA to purchase new and safer equipment.  

“First of all, it’s very exciting that in the last six months we’ve had a terrific rate of success securing grants for the Ninth district, especially for these first-time grant writers.  On top of today’s competitive grant awards, back in August, Federal Way secured $475,000 from the same program with their first application.  This is a great way for the federal government to help out our local communities as these grants provide our local firefighters with the tools they need to do their jobs safely and more efficiently,” Smith said.  “Our nation’s fire departments are the first responders into almost every emergency situation and this grant program is one of the ways that we can help to ensure their continued safety as they face a variety of threats.  This was a very competitive grant process, involving a national peer review with over 300 fire service leaders.  With their receipt of the award, both departments have successfully demonstrated their commitment to ‘safety first’ for their team.  This is a great program for our local first responders and I'm looking forward to expanding the number of Ninth district applicants to federal grant programs like this one in the future.”

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.  Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, based in Tacoma, received $201,037, 70 percent of the total project cost, to purchase thermal imaging units and new more protective bunker equipment to improve the basic fire fighting services they provide to the community.  Pierce County Fire District No. 11, which serves a Puyallup area community of fewer than 50,000 residents and therefore qualifies for a 90 percent federal contribution, has been using the same bunker equipment for the last 20 years and received $48,372 towards its purchase of new equipment.  The newer type of bunker equipment that both departments are looking to purchase is safer, lighter, and more compact than current equipment. Approximately 28 percent lighter than older equipment, the purchase of cutting edge bunker gear will result in less fatigue to these firefighters and allow them to be more mobile and efficient.  

For more information about the Central Pierce Fire and Rescue Unit, contact Karen Johnson at (253) 548-6400.  For more information about Pierce County Fire District No. 11, contact Steve Tyree, Assistant Fire Chief at (206) 353-3280.