Tester Secures Critical Safety Equipment for 4 Rural Montana Fire Departments

Senator Brings In Nearly $1 Million to Bolster Recruitment, Secure Communities

(Phoenix, Ariz.) – Rural firefighters in four Montana communities just got a big boost, thanks to a grant secured by U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

Tester delivered grants totaling $917,857 to beef up recruiting efforts and upgrade training and safety equipment for fire departments in Florence, Columbus, Miles City, and Shepherd.

Tester recently toured the Columbus Fire Department to see the grants at work and talk to local firefighters about their equipment needs.

“Firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our communities and keep us safe,” Tester said. “Local communities rely on them, and this grant will help rural fire departments recruit and equip more firefighters, keeping families safe and our communities secure.”

Tester secured the grants through the Department of Homeland Security’s competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, which Tester recently reauthorized in a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by former Senator John McCain.

Tester’s SAFER and AFG grants have yielded big results for communities across Montana, including nearly $1 million to hire six additional firefighters in Belgrade and $800,000 to train and equip firefighters in Helena. In 2018, he successfully fought for a $10 million increase in fire grants.

The grants awarded are:

• Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department, $155,583 for Operations and Safety

• City of Miles City, $222,334 for Operations and Safety

• Florence Rural Fire District, $351,940 for Recruitment

• Columbus Rural Fire District #3, $188,000 for Recruitment