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Pascrell Announces $229K Federal Grant for Bergen County Firefighters

Support from Pascrell helped secure $180K for Little Ferry, $49K for Fort Lee

Washington, September 23, 2019

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, announced that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded $229,090 in federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) to the Fort Lee and Little Ferry fire departments. Established through Rep. Pascrell’s FIRE Act, the AFG program provides direct support to eligible fire departments to help them meet the demanding and ever-evolving nature of their work. With Rep. Pascrell’s support, the grant funds will be used for the purchase of state-of-the-art breathing apparatuses for firefighters in both municipalities.

"I want our first responders to have every possible resource available to them when they put their lives on the line protecting our community," said Rep. Pascrell. "This grant will help ensure our brave firefighters in Little Ferry and Fort Lee have every advantage to keep themselves and our neighbors safe. I remain committed to fighting for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program so we can continue to bolster public safety here in New Jersey and across our nation."

“We are so thankful to Congressman Pascrell for his assistance in securing this grant, which is a big help to our brave firefighters and our community,” said Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Ragueso. “It’s the first time the Borough has ever received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant award of this magnitude and it comes at the right time because we could now replace the majority of the older safety equipment for our volunteer firefighters. While mostly everyone runs from danger our firefighters run into it.  Therefore we need to give them all tools necessary for their safety and to help protect others.  Through the efforts of our Congressman, who has always been a champion for first responders, we will be able to just that.”

“Fort Lee is blessed to be represented by a Congressman who for decades has been a champion for fireman and all first responders,” said Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. “Congressman Pascrell has always made it a priority to assist Fort Lee and our sister communities with the ability to provide resources for our local heroes. We in Fort Lee are so very grateful for the assistance Congressman Pascrell has provided to our community which allows local government to make sure that our first responders are properly equipped and trained.”

Today’s grant announcement by Rep. Pascrell comes on the heels of a $607,658 grant he helped secure for the Englewood Fire Department, a $67,400 grant he helped win for the Lyndhurst Fire Department, and a $272,380 grant he helped gain for the Leonia Fire Department.  Rep. Pascrell also helped secure a $10,186 grant to provide updated gas monitoring equipment for firefighters in Secaucus.

Last month, Rep. Pascrell worked to secure a $289,450 federal grant for the Paterson Fire Department. He celebrated in 2018 the signing into law of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which established a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Menendez first introduced of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in May 2016 during a news conference at Clifton Fire Station 5, where they were joined by dozens of firefighters, including retired Haddon Heights Fire Chief Gene Dannenfelster, who since lost his battle with cancer. H.R.931 was introduced in the 115th Congress on February 17, 2017.

Rep. Pascrell was a main author in the House of Representatives of the SAFER Act, which became law in 2003, and the FIRE (Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement) Act which makes grants to local fire departments. Combined, they have provided billions of dollars in funding for fire departments across the country for staffing, equipment, and training needs.

Congress created these grant programs to help address the significant staffing, equipment, training, and health and safety needs of fire departments across the United States. The SAFER grant program provides funding to cover the costs associated with hiring personnel to maintain safe staffing levels. When Rep. Pascrell introduced the FIRE Act in 1999, it was the first comprehensive legislation dedicated to meet the special needs of America's 32,000 volunteer, paid, and part-paid fire departments.

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