Firefighters & Emergency Services Can Soon Get Protective Gear from FEMA After Tester Push

First responders can apply for portion of $100 million in funding beginning April 28th

One week after urging FEMA to open up $100 million of appropriated funding for first responders to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to address COVID-19, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that Montana fire departments and emergency medical service (EMS) providers will be able to apply for aid starting April 28th.

Tester successfully secured the $100 million in FEMA Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP) funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Applications for funding will be available through the FY2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S).

“As Montana’s firefighters and first responders rush to help their communities through this public health crisis, they are putting their lives on the line coming into contact with folks experiencing coronavirus symptoms,” said Tester. “This funding will be critical to ensuring that our fire departments and emergency medical service providers have the necessary protective gear so they can stay safe while they help Montana fight this pandemic.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that first responders who anticipate coming into contact with individuals who may be infected with COVID-19 wear adequate PPE. Without PPE like respirators, gowns, eye protection, gloves, and masks, first responders are put at unnecessary risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

FEMA will begin accepting applications for the AFG-S funding on Tuesday, April 28th with a deadline of May 15th, 2020. Those who would like to start planning their application can access the Notice of Funding Opportunity and technical assistance tools on the FEMA website. The online application for the AFG-S Grant Program is available through the AFGP FEMA Grants Outcomes (GO) application portal.

Tester has been working around the clock to ensure that Montana’s first responders and medical professionals have the necessary equipment to combat coronavirus. He successfully pressured FEMA to ship 68,000 N95 masks to Montana after the agency failed to deliver on their promise to provide the state with PPE. He recently voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana health providers including $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile with PPE for frontline health workers, $850 million in Byrne JAG funding to help law enforcement purchase PPE and pay officer overtime, and $1.25 billion for the state of Montana to combat the virus.

Visit for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak