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Firefighters Across Mississippi are Applauding Congresses Efforts to Fund a Grant Assistance Program

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 22 Mar 2013 06:20pm | comments
City of Brandon Fire Station Friday, March 22, 2013

Mississippi firefighters are  applauding a decision by Congress to continue funding the Assistance to Firefighters Grants even as they remain focused on reducing the federal debt. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports local reaction to the  firefighters assistance program is receiving mixed reviews around the state.

No one is more pleased that Congress has passed fiscal year 2013 funding for the federal government more than Collins Fire Chief, John Pope.  The President of the Mississippi Firefighters Association says that means his department and others across the state can continue to rely on a number of federal benefits including the Assistance to Firefighters Grants. 

"You know these grants help to provide to the purchase of new apparatus. New personal protective clothing to keep the personnel safe while they are operating on emergency scenes. Rescue equipment, training, so it’s just a plethora of items that these federal grants help support to keep the  fire service and emergency response communities ready to respond to our local citizens during their time of needs."

Rob Martin is the Fire Chief of the City of Brandon, he too credits the Assistance to Firefighters Grants in helping to adequately train and equip fire departments across the state.

"If you're really, really, really in need then this grant attempts to fill that void. In other words if you don't have a fire truck and you're a fire department then you have a really good shot."

However, Martin who is also the immediate past president of the Mississippi Firefighters Association says he does have some reservations about grant funding.

"As a kick start there is nothing better than AFG, But when you have to either replace it or take on the salary at the local government level that money wasn't there before and now it's not thereafter. So I think we've got to better plan how we're  do things and I think that my biggest concern."

Congress has approved the current funding for firefighters through September. Members of the Mississippi Firefighters Association are scheduled to meet with lawmakers this spring in hopes of persuading them to extend the benefits. 

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City of Brandon Fire Station Friday, March 22, 2013


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