New York, NY, July 28, 2014 -- In addition to its other widespread destruction, Hurricane Sandy also undermined the effectiveness of multiple sets of the Atlantic City Fire Department’s (ACFD) personal protective equipment via several feet of salt water, oil, gasoline, and sewage.
The ACFD has been awarded $489,060 from the Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) program, however, to replace not only the Sandy-damaged equipment, but also more than 100 other protective suits that are eight years old, showing significant wear, and losing their ability to safeguard the first responders. The local share of the federal grant is $54,340, bringing the total to $543,400.
The announcement was made here today by Dale Mcshine, Grants Director for Region II of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. AFG is a FEMA program.
“During and after Hurricane Sandy, the Atlantic City Fire Department’s gear was exposed to harsh ingredients,” says the department’s Administrative Deputy Chief, Vincent Granese. “It’s unlikely that these contaminants can be removed, and the odds are that they have damaged the integrity of our personal protective equipment.”
Personal protective equipment includes coats, suspenders, helmets, gloves, and hoods. “This grant allows for state-of-the-art gear,” says Chief Granese. “We never would have been able to afford this generation of equipment. It will be made of far better materials, and will enhance our ability to fight fires and respond to other incidents.”
The ACFD is a full-time career department with members assigned to six fire stations that operate on a 24-hour basis 365 days per year. Its services include fire suppression, fire prevention, public safety education, fire investigations, first-responder EMS, level III hazardous material response, and all phases of technical rescue. The department also provides regional support throughout the southern half of New Jersey for Hazmat and Technical Rescue Team response.
The city is a historic beach resort, operating 12 casinos and numerous first-name hotels. It is home to almost 40,000 residents with daily influxes of 110,000 to 600,000 people.
“With its multitude of capabilities, our fire department serves not only our bustling, populated city, but also the state. I have long been proud and impressed by their capabilities and this AFG grant serves only to boost their strengths,” observes Atlantic City mayor, Donald Guardian.
FEMA’s AFG program has been aiding firefighters and other first responders since 2001. “The program provides critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards,” said Tania Hedlund, FEMA’s Grants Branch Chief. The AFG provided funding of $25,340,000 for FEMA’s Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) in 2012.
For further information, contact William H. Douglass at 212-680-3665/917-561-3223.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.