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Federal funds could help local emergency response departments

WASHINGTON -- Local fire departments and emergency medical services face a Jan. 15 deadline to apply for federal grants for operations and safety improvements.

WASHINGTON -- Local fire departments and emergency medical services face a Jan. 15 deadline to apply for federal grants for operations and safety improvements.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, helps firefighters and other first responders obtain equipment such as protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

Eight North Dakota fire departments and EMS organizations received a total of about $1 million in the 2014 application round, which were distributed this year.

Among them were the Ferry Township Rural Fire Protection District in Manvel, which received $59,954, and Inkster Rural Fire Protection District, which was awarded $18,096.

Grants from the 2014 program still are being awarded, FEMA Region VIII Acting Regional Administrator Robert Farmer said.

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"We're proud to support the outstanding work of North Dakota's first responders," he said.

Awards are based on national competition, with no limits on allocations by state, said Jerome DeFelice, FEMA Region VIII external affairs officer.

Since 2012, he said, 180 fire departments and emergency medical services have received more than $19.7 million in AFG grants across the six FEMA Region VIII states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Utah.

The program has been available since 2001.

For more information, go to www.fema.gov , click Navigation and then click the Assistance To Firefighters Grant Program link.

Those interested in the program can also email firegrants@fema.gov or call (866) 274-0960.

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