Illinois announces new firefighting grants

Published 4 October 2006

Local firehouses may apply for up to $26,000 in funding for equipment; those looking for new trucks, however, should look elsewhere, perhaps to the state’s no-interest revolving loan program

When young boys dream of becoming firefighters, their most fervent wish is to ride around town in a screaming hook and ladder truck. Real firefighters like the trucks too, but they realize that the equipment they bring with them into the fire is just as important as the vehicle that brought them there. A new grant program administered by the Illinois state fire marshal provides up to $26,000 for local fire departments, but the money must be used for firefighter equipment — protective gear, breathing and extrication tools, thermal imaging cameras, and the like. “This program is intended to help fire departments that simply don’t have enough money in their budgets to buy small, yet very necessary, items,” said State Fire Marshal Dave Foreman. “We know there are many departments throughout the state that can benefit from this program, and we’re encouraging them to apply for a grant.” Intersted departments have until until 15 March 2007 to apply.

The Small Equipment Grant Program is only one of a number of similar state programs. More than sixty fire departments have signed up for a no-interest revolving loan program to help purchase new fire trucks (a similar program also helps with the purchase of ambulances), and the state’s Fire and Administrative Exchange Program operates as a clearinghouse for surplus equipment. So far, lucky fire departments have donated nearly 3,000 items ranging from trucks to hoses to less fortunate agencies.

-read more in this news release