Tester Announces $300,000 in Funding for Four Local Fire Departments

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – As part of his ongoing efforts to increase firefighting resources across the state, Senator Jon Tester announced today that four local fire departments will receive almost $300,000 to strengthen their emergency preparedness through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

“Firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to keep our communities safe,”
Tester said. “We need to do everything in our power to minimize that risk by providing them with the right resources and safety equipment to do their jobs.”

Local fire departments from across the country apply for funding through the AFG Program to help purchase equipment, vehicles, protective gear and implement training programs. The specific breakdown of awards is as follows:

  • City of Deer Lodge Volunteer Fire Department – $146,620
  • Blue Creek Volunteer Fire Department (Billings, MT) – $63,134
  • Crow National Fire Department – $69,810
  • Livingston Fire and Rescue – $18,762

“We are overjoyed,” said Laura Rides Horse, Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator for Crow Nation. “The grant will provide much needed structure fire gear, equipment and training for the Crow Nation Structure Fire Department. They will receive training to be certified structure firefighters. We are so rural in Montana, especially on the reservations, this type of funding is so appreciated. We wish to thank all those who made the funding available.”

“We are pleasantly surprised and so grateful for this grant money,” said Rick Cortez, Chief of the Blue Creek Volunteer Fire Department. “It will go towards outfitting our firefighters with new turn-outs-everything from helmets to boots-which is essential to keeping our staff and our community safe.”

Tester has pushed to increase funding for the AFG Program as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Last year Tester helped secure $680 million for the program before securing an additional $10 million for the program this fiscal year. And Montana cities have reaped the benefits, with awards also going to Great Falls, Missoula, Livingston, and Columbus in 2016.