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Another $1.2 Million in Federal Grants Awarded to Five South Suburban Fire Departments

Oct 2, 2019
Press Release

Matteson, IL - Congresswoman Robin Kelly announced today that five additional south suburban fire departments will receive federal grants totaling more than $1.2 million.

This is the third round of grants awarded to south suburban fire departments. This latest round brings a total of $3.2 million in federal funds to 19 south suburban fire departments.

“These federal funds help fill the budget gaps that so many of our local municipalities experience on a regular basis,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “Every cent of the $3.2 million will go directly toward the protection of our citizens, our communities and the health of our brave firefighters.”

Fire Departments in Homewood, Calumet City, South Chicago Heights, Grant Park and Manteno were the most recent recipients of FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. These grants will be used to purchase equipment and hire new firefighters.

The Homewood Fire Department received a $537,517 grant that will be used to hire three additional career firefighters.

“We’re thankful these funds will ensure we have an adequate number of responders arriving on calls so that we can provide the highest level of protection and care to our citizens and the village,” said Deputy Fire Chief Steven DeJong.

A $565,419 grant awarded to Calumet City will also fund the hiring of additional officers, according to Mayor Michelle Qualkinbush.

“All municipalities are facing budget constraints, so we look forward to using these federal funds to hire additional firefighters for the benefit and safety of our residents,” she said.

A $26,666 grant awarded to South Chicago Heights will be used for a community risk reduction assessment that can be stored online for instant access by first responders.

“We’re super-psyched we got this,” said Chief Chad Vlietstra. “Vital information that was once in a binder and stored on a shelf in the fire department is now at our firefighters’ fingertips. It will allow us to put together a mobile plan for all of our commercial and industrial occupancies in the village and identify specific hazards. The information will be stored on an internet-based program called Flow MSP. When crews are responding to a call, they can instantly pull up the info to look at the specific hazards in a particular business, including the location of hydrants and shutoff valves for gas utilities, and any hazardous propane tanks on site.”

Chief Scott O’Brien of the Manteno Fire Department said the $53,809 grant the village was awarded will purchase a rescue squad that will transport rescue equipment to accident sites.

“We’re getting more truck accidents on I-57, IL-50 and IL-45 because of increased traffic and construction,” O’Brien said. “The rescue squad will help us mitigate bigger accidents by carrying portable, battery operated extrication equipment, and lifting bags for heavy trucks and the loads they carry. The grant will benefit members of our community as well as people traveling to and through Manteno community.”

Grant Park Fire Protection District was awarded an $80,952 grant for a ventilation system to remove toxic diesel exhaust from its fire station, according to Fire Chief Rich Shronts.

Since early September, Congresswoman Kelly has announced federal grant awards to fire departments serving Chicago Heights, Homewood, Steger, Flossmoor, Calumet City, South Chicago Heights, South Holland, Grant Park, Manteno, Phoenix, Limestone, Steger and the Crete Township Fire Protection District. Other fire departments benefitting from the awards include Glenwood, Hazel Crest, Park Forest, Matteson, Riverdale and Thornton. 

The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. During Fiscal Year 2018, AFG made $315 million directly available to fire departments, state fire training academies and non-affiliated EMS organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, emergency vehicles and training.


Robin Kelly



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