Competition high for federal grants for firefighting
Saturday, August 31, 2002

By Jim Geraghty
STATES NEWS SERVICE


WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The good news for fire departments such as Worcester's that are seeking federal grants to help pay for new equipment is that the fire department aid program has $360 million this year, more than three times the amount it distributed last year.
The bad news is that out of the 19,000 firehouses across the nation that have applied, about 14,000 will walk away empty-handed this year.
Lawmakers have authorized the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement grant program to distribute up to $900 million next year, in what some firefighters and lawmakers think is a reflection of the profession's popularity and heroic status after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Appropriators will set the final level of funding in this fall's budget battles.