HILLSDALE, N.J. – Six fire departments in the Fifth District – Hackensack, Hillsdale, Erskine Lakes (Ringwood), and Skyline Lakes (Ringwood), Demarest, and Goodwill Fire Company #1 (Belvidere) – received Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), totaling more than $739,000.
The grant is Hillsdale’s first AFG grant, receiving $213,715 worth of equipment. This is also the first AFG grant for Goodwill Fire Company #1, totaling $142,477 worth of equipment. Hackensack received $86,182 worth of equipment; Erskine Lakes received $189,715 worth of equipment; Skyline Lakes received $10,477 worth of equipment; and Demarest received $96,667 worth of equipment.
The grants will provide safety equipment like thermal imaging cameras, personal safety bailout systems, self-contained breathing apparatuses, and face pieces for oxygen masks.
“North Jersey’s volunteer firefighters have our backs every day — running into fires and saving our lives — it is our duty to have their back by getting them the equipment they need to stay safe,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Our state gets pennies back on the dollars that we send to Washington, compared to Moocher States like Mississippi. That’s why I’ve made it a top priority to improve the return on investment we see from our federal tax dollars to help communities like Hillsdale, Hackensack, and Ringwood get the equipment and resources they need to keep us safe from everything from lone wolf terrorism to fire emergencies.”
“On behalf of the Hackensack Fire Department, I would like to thank Mayor Labrosse and the City Council as well as City Manager Ehrenburg for supporting us in applying for FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant”, said Hackensack Fire Chief Tom Freeman. “I would also like to thank Congressman Josh Gotheimer, who works tirelessly and consistently to promote public safety. We are very excited that this grant now enables us to replace and upgrade our thermal imaging cameras and firefighter personal escape systems. Our community’s safety is our first priority, and this equipment affords us the most up-to-date technology to ensure the safety of both the firefighters and the citizens we serve.”
“We are extremely pleased Hillsdale was awarded one of these grants. Applying and obtaining this grant was a team effort on the part of our fire department volunteers and Borough employees,” Hillsdale Mayor John Ruocco said. “It represents a critical return of our tax dollars that we send down to Washington, and helps give our first responders the resources they need to stay safe while they’re keeping us safe. I appreciate the efforts of Congressman Gottheimer in publicizing and facilitating grants such as this.”
In March, Gottheimer joined local elected officials and first responders to announce that the Fifth District had clawed back $290 per household from Washington and Moocher States – 16% higher than in previous years – to support local schools, boost storm preparedness and response, and fight crime and terror.
The AFG award helps firehouses across the United State to upgrade or purchase new equipment, vehicles, workplace trainings, and other fire prevention activities.
As a member of the bipartisan Fire Services Caucus, Gottheimer has been laser-focused on encouraging North Jersey towns to apply for grant programs to return federal tax dollars to North Jersey, including through the AFG grant program. His first public district event after being sworn in was to encourage fire departments to apply for the grant. He has also hosted several return on investment and mayors’ roundtables to provide guidance to local towns on the federal resources available to them and how best to secure these grants. Parties interested in applying for federal grants can learn more on Congressman Gottheimer’s website and are encouraged to contact the office at 201-389-1100.