June 30th, 2020- The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal announced the recipients of the Small Equipment Grant Program. A total of $3.5 million was awarded to 154 fire departments/districts and EMS providers. The OSFM received 540 applications, requesting around $12 million in funding during this grant period.
Locally, the Maroa Countryside Fire Protection District received $26,000, Harristown Fire Protection District- $23,738, Argenta-Oreana Fire Department- $26,000 and Blue Mound Fire Protection District- $26,000.
The Small Equipment Grant Program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. This program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for the fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that have hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase.
“Ensuring that first responders have the equipment they need to operate effectively and safely is a top priority of the OSFM. Most smaller departments and districts struggle financially to replace or upgrade aging equipment. The impending fiscal impacts resulting from the COVID19 crisis make the OSFM’s Small Equipment Grant Program even more critical to help ease that burden,” says Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.
Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply.