Tester Announces $116,000 for Livingston Fire Department

(Big Sandy, Mont.) -Senator Jon Tester proudly announced today that the Livingston fire department will be receiving a grant worth $116,389 to upgrade its emergency communications equipment.

Tester helped secure this additional funding for Livingston Fire and Rescue through the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program for Operations and Safety, a category that includes professional training, personal protective equipment, and supplies that support firefighting and non-affiliated EMS operations and safety. This is the third time this year that Senator Tester has helped secure AFG funds for a Montana fire department.

“Making sure Montana’s first responders are ready and well-equipped for any emergency they face is one of my most fundamental responsibilities,” Tester said. “That’s why I am pleased that local fire departments like Livingston’s are receiving the resources they need to keep families safe.”

The AFG Program is funded and administered through FEMA, which is also responsible for the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) program. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester has fought hard to increase funding for both initiatives, providing $680 million for the two initiatives in 2015 and securing an additional $10 million for the two programs in fiscal year 2016.

“We’re very excited about this funding because it will be used to replace all of our portable radio devices, which is a huge safety issue for us,” said Mike Chambers, the Fire Inspector and Training Officer for Livingston Fire and Rescue. “This will help us keep up with modern communications standards and streamline our communications across the department so we can communicate quickly and efficiently within the department and across the county.”

Fire Departments from all over the country apply for grants through the AFG Program, making the selection process a highly competitive one. Both Great Falls and Missoula received similar awards through the AFG Program earlier this year, and FireSafe Montana was awarded a $167,334 grant through the AFG last year.

Tester has introduced a number of bills this session to help improve the health and safety of Montana’s firefighters. His bipartisan National Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would create a nationwide registry to track and study the prevalence of different cancers among the nation’s firefighters. And his Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act would also help firefighters get jobs and earn promotions in the federal workforce.