SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis today announced that $2 million in grants are now available to help fire departments across the state purchase small equipment and protective clothing that will enable them to better serve their communities. Applications must be postmarked no later than February 20, 2010.
“It’s important for local fire departments to have the right equipment in order to protect the communities they serve when responding to emergencies,” said Matkaitis. “Like many local government agencies, fire departments also are struggling to make ends meet due to tighter budgets. Our small equipment grant program is an added resource to help front-line responders receive the proper equipment to fight fires and save lives.”
The Small Equipment Grant Program, under which fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments can apply for grants of up to $26,000 for purchasing items such as turnout coats for firefighters, firefighting tools and extrication equipment. Larger items, such as fire trucks and other vehicles, are not eligible under this program. In 2009, 25 Illinois fire departments received nearly a half-million dollars from the program.
Only fire departments maintained by a local unit of government to provide fire suppression within a geographical area are eligible for the program. In addition, departments receiving grants must have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for at least the past two years.
More information and applications for the Small Equipment Grant Program can be found on the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Web site at www.state.il.us/osfm or by calling (217) 785-4717.