Durbin Announces a Nearly $500,000 FEMA Grant to Wheeling Fire Department

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has awarded a $488,910 grant to the Wheeling Fire Department in Wheeling, Illinois, for hiring initiatives aimed at increasing the number of frontline firefighters.

“Our nation's firefighters are called upon day after day to protect America's citizens,” Durbin said. “As these brave men and women put themselves in harm’s way, we must ensure that they are equipped with the best resources possible to do their jobs well.  I will continue my efforts to help secure these important funds for Illinois fire departments.”

This funding is provided through the DHS’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. The SAFER program seeks to enhance a department’s ability to maintain 24-hour staffing and ensures that the community has adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.  In FY2007, Illinois received more awards than any other state in the country – nearly $1.5 million of the $115 million in available federal funding to hire and recruit additional firefighters.  In FY2009, the program will award approximately $210 million nationwide in competitive grants to fire departments and statewide or local firefighter interest groups.