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On August 21, 2015 the Fire Department was notified that they had been awarded a grant to purchase a tanker/pumper from FEMA as part of the 2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. (FEMA, 2014). The Newton Fire Department has a great track record in applying for and receiving funds from this program as shown by the table link below.
This program has funded projects like the automatic fire sprinkler system, new turnout gear, new self-contained breathing apparatus, a vehicle exhaust extraction system, and much more. The current award is for the purchase of a tanker/pumper. According to FEMA, the AFG Vehicle Acquisition Grant is the most competitive grant activity in their program. The department has been trying for this grant for that past eight years and has been denied on all applications. In this year’s budget City Council included the purchase of the tanker/pumper as part of the bonding project. The Fire Department is communicating with the Grant Administrators in an effort to use the grant funds to pay off the bonds issued for the vehicle.