Subject: Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) FEMA Grant
From: Currituck County Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton
Currituck County Receives a Million Dollar Grant for Firefighting Equipment
Currituck County Fire & EMS has been awarded a $995,000 Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) FEMA Grant. The proceeds of this grant will go towards the purchase of new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs) for all fire departments that operate in Currituck County. This will allow all Firefighters that function in the County to use the same lifesaving equipment. This will help to standardize fire-ground operations as well as fire training. The grant will also allow the County to purchase individual SCBA face masks for each firefighter as part of their firefighting ensemble.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and is designed to assist communities in the purchase of emergency fire-related equipment. This year’s program was funded with $375 million dollars: Currituck County submitted the grant in March and it passed a rigorous and comprehensive review process. AFG receives approximately 2 billion dollars in requests per year. Applications are assessed on locality needs and are weighted against other grant requests received.
SCBAs are the lifeline for firefighters; these devices provide the respiratory protection necessary to allow firefighters to safely enter buildings that are on fire with conditions of smoke and high heat. Currently, Currituck has three different types of SCBAs that are not compatible with each other. Firefighters also have previously had to share SCBA face pieces with one another, which is unsanitary and not optimal.
One SCBA costs approximately $6,500, with an additional $400 for each SCBA air tank. Currituck County is looking at purchasing 170 units. Currituck County must match 10% of the grant, or $95,500, bringing the total amount of the grant to $1.1 million dollars.