HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Fire departments in Mississippi are getting nearly $1.4 million dollars in federal grant funding to use for safety upgrades.
The federal grants provide funds for expenses such as the equipment, apparatus, training and salaries necessary to protect and serve communities. The grants are available through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program.
Of the 12 departments in Mississippi that have received this grant in 2020, Harrison County Fire Services is the only department in the six coastal counties to receive funding.
The county received $623,527, which is the largest amount of any of the Mississippi departments awarded grant money through this program this year.
That money will be used to replace their self-contained breathing apparatuses, which are used by firefighters every day to breathe safely during fire rescues.
Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan says the much-needed upgrades will protect the lives of firefighters and victims.
“So this is replacing our outdated air packs. All air packs have a life span and ours have reached their life span,” explained Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan. Being able to put this air pack on, go inside, do the search, find the victim, get them out, and get to the seat of the fire... thats the meat and potatoes of what we do. Save lives, protect property.”
Under the AFG program, career and volunteer fire departments and other eligible organizations can receive funding through three different grants to enhance a fire department’s/safety organization’s ability to protect the health and safety of firefighters and the public, assist fire prevention programs and support firefighter health and safety research and development, and/or increase or maintain the number of trained “front line” firefighters available in communities.