March 21, 2010 - 10:15pm
By: Debjani Mukherjee
The Ann Arbor Fire Department received a grant worth $72,519 on March 11, which will be used to support firefighting operations and increase firefighter safety.
U.S. Michigan Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin announced on Thursday that 15 fire departments in Michigan will receive $833,487 in grant money through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant to Firefighters Grant Program, according to a press release.
In the release, Levin wrote that the money will be used to provide training and equipment for Michigan fire departments.
“These federal dollars will help purchase the firefighting vehicles and personal protective equipment that Michigan’s firefighters and first responders need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” Levin wrote. “Communities throughout Michigan depend on the protection our firefighters provide, and this funding will help them prepare for the dangers they face on a daily basis.”
The grant will last for a period of one year. Ed Dziubinski, assistant chief of the Ann Arbor Fire Department, said the primary purpose of this grant is to increase firefighter safety on the scene of a fire.
“This will increase firefighter safety on the scene of fires with more uniform equipment for fire attack,” Dziubinski said.
Dzuibinski said the department has applied for the AFGP grant since it was first offered in 2001. Though AAFD has received money in the past, the department was not awarded the grant last year.
“We have been awarded almost every other year in the past four years,” Dziubinski said.
Dziubinski said the department has not yet bought equipment with the funds because, since the grant is worth more than $25,000, it needs be approved by the Ann Arbor City Council. The council has to match 20 percent of the grant funds — or $18,000 — with taxpayers’ dollars, according to Dziubinski.
“We budgeted for that amount when we first applied for the grant we made the city manager fully aware of what we were applying for,” Dziubinski said.
According to Dziubinski, City Council’s approval may take four to five weeks.
The AFGP grant is awarded through an application process. Each department has to draft a grant application and submit it electronically through the government website.
“The grant process took a month to two months – going through drafts and reviewing them,” Dziubinski said.
In writing the grant application Dziubinski said the department focused on the many groups in Ann Arbor, including the University’s student population, commercial community and high-tech and chemical industries that pose fire hazards and require AAFD attention.