Congressman Pallone Stands with Middletown Officials and Announces Nearly Half a Million Dollars in Fire Grants

Jan 13, 2012 Issues: New Jersey

Middletown, N.J. – During a tour of the Navesink Hook & Ladder Co. fire station in Middletown today Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. announced a grant for nearly half a million dollars to help ensure the safety of the Middletown community. The $465,320 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) will be used to purchase new radios to replace equipment made obsolete by new Federal Communications Commission standards, ensuring the department's members can communicate effectively with each other and the dispatch center. 

"When dealing with public safety issues, having modernized communications equipment can mean the difference between life and death," said Pallone. "This funding will make a difference locally by making it safer for firefighters and first responders to do their jobs and save lives."

In 2011, over $2.8 million dollars in grant money was awarded to the state of New Jersey, with over one million dollars of that awarded to fire departments in the sixth Congressional district to improve community emergency services.  Pallone recently announced a $175,468 grant to the Ocean Township Fire District 1 for a new breathing apparatus, which will replace 36 units that are at the end of their useful life as well as $617,500 to the Asbury Park Fire Department to acquire equipment like pump trucks, rescue vehicles, ambulances and fireboats.

"At a time when other funding is being cut for critical services such as public safety, health and education, it's more important than ever that the federal government step in with critical support to protect our communities."

During the visit Pallone and local officials, including Mayor Anthony Fiore and Fire Chief Andrew Spears, discussed various public safety issues including the Congressman's efforts to maintain the federal FIRE and SAFETY programs which were established by Congress in 2000 to help local fire departments equip, train, and maintain their personnel.  These programs, which include the AFG program, have provided over $7 billion to local fire departments across the country.  When a recent appropriations bill did not contain adequate funding for these grants, Pallone supported an amendment that eventually restored funding and allowed funds to be used to rehire laid-off firefighters. 

The Middletown Fire Department is an all volunteer fire department comprised of eleven fire companies, five chief officers, special services, air unit, fire police, field communications and fire academy.  The department’s strength is well over 500 personnel, of which 350 are active firefighters.