Tester Announces $300,000 Grant for Great Falls Fire Department

(U.S Senate) – As part of his push to increase the health, safety, and efficiency of firefighters across the state, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Great Falls Fire Department will receive $302,114 through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program. These funds will support the fire department’s larger effort to strengthen its emergency preparedness.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester has fought hard to secure increased funding for the AFG Program over the last few years. After helping secure $680 million for the program in fiscal year 2015, Tester repeatedly urged his colleagues to support fire safety initiatives and secured an additional $10 million for the program in fiscal year 2016.

“Firefighters are on the front lines protecting our families and our communities,” Tester said. “And in return, we must to provide them with the resources and opportunities they need to safely fulfill their duties.”

Local fire departments from across the country apply for funding through the AFG Program and the selection process is a competitive one. FireSafe Montana received $167,334 through the same program last year.

“I’m just thrilled to death that our department is receiving this money, especially at such a crucial time of need,” said Steve Hester, Chief of the Great Falls Fire Department. “These funds will go towards purchasing new self-contained breathing apparatuses for our firefighters, which will help keep them safe and allow us to provide even better service to the community.”

Tester recently introduced his bipartisan National Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which would establish a nationwide registry to collect, store, and monitor data regarding the rate of various cancers among firefighters. His Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act aims to assist wildland firefighters as they pursue career advancement opportunities across the federal government. The bill was unanimously passed by Congress and supported by numerous groups including the International Association of Fire Fighters.