Tester Announces $130,000 for Firefighting Equipment in Missoula

(U.S. Senate) – As he builds on his commitment to help firefighters across Montana, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Missoula Rural Fire District will receive $137,342 to purchase new equipment that helps firefighters refill the breathing air cylinders on their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses.

“Ensuring our local fire departments have the resources they need to protect our communities is a fundamental part of my job,” Tester said. “These funds will help keep Missoula’s brave first responders safe and effective, which in turn benefits the whole community.”

The funding comes from FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program, which Tester has fought hard to secure funding for as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Having already secured $680 million for the AFG and Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) programs in fiscal year 2015, Tester secured an additional $10 million for these programs in fiscal year 2016.

“This money will help purchase important equipment that keeps our firefighters safe when they are responding to emergencies,” said Brent Christopherson, Assistant Fire Chief of the Missoula Rural Fire District. “Our department couldn’t survive without the help of the AFG and SAFER grants. We want to thank Senator Tester for making sure these resources are available to us.”

The AFG Program has a competitive selection process, soliciting applications from fire departments across the country. The Great Falls Fire Department received more than $300,000 through the AFG earlier this year, and FireSafe Montana was awarded a $167,334 grant through the AFG last year.

Tester has engaged in an ongoing campaign to improve the health, safety, and financial security of firefighters, both in Montana and across the country. His bipartisan National Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would facilitate and encourage research regarding the rate of various cancers most common among firefighters. His Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, which was unanimously passed by Congress, helps wildland firefighters secure jobs and establish careers within the federal workforce.