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Washtenaw County fire services expected to greatly benefit from new federal funding bill

Ann Arbor Fire Department fire trucks.
City of Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor Fire Department fire trucks.

Fire departments in Washtenaw County and across Michigan can again apply for federal funding to buy life-saving equipment.

The bill signed into law by President Biden reauthorizes FEMA’s SAFER, AFG and USFA grant programs. The funding can be used for a variety of needs of local fire departments, including staffing, equipment, and training.

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters introduced the legislation. He says he’s seen how effective the programs can be for fire departments across the state.

“Fire equipment, first off, tends to be very expensive, and it's difficult for fire departments—particularly smaller fire departments and more rural fire departments—to have the type of equipment necessary to protect individuals.”

The reauthorization is welcome news for Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy. The department has previously been awarded an AFG, or Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

He says the largest was used to purchase air respirators that freed up general fund dollars for other needs.

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News Reporter and Host Kevin Meerschaert was a student reporter at WEMU in the early 90s. After another 30 years in the public radio business and stops in Indiana, Maryland, Florida, and New Mexico, Kevin is back to where it all began.
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