Press Release

Congressman McHenry Announces $802,918 & $32,728 Homeland Security Grants to Asheville Fire Department in Buncombe County

U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards Assistance to Firefighter Grant funds to local department

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Washington, September 10, 2018 | comments
Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) announced a combined $835,646 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to a local fire department in the Tenth Congressional District.

The grants will go to the Asheville Fire Department in Buncombe County.  The larger of the two grants, $802,918, comes in the eighth round of this year’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant awards which assist local fire departments to increase their staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies whenever they may occur.  Local departments applied for the grants from the program, which is administered by the Grant Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. 

According to Asheville Assistant Fire Chief Chris Budzinski, the grant will fund nine new career firefighter positions.  This will enable the department to staff every ladder truck with four positions to fully meet current standards.

The second grant is $32,728 and comes in the ninth round of the 2017 fiscal year Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), which aims to help firefighters and first responders throughout the country.  Grants may be used for equipment or vehicle acquisition or for regional, multi-agency requests.  Chief Budzinski states that the AFG grant will purchase four decontamination washer and dryer sets to clean firefighting gear.

“Asheville is the economic engine of western North Carolina and a national tourist destination.  The city has experienced remarkable growth and with that comes the need to provide increased emergency service protection,” said Congressman McHenry. “These grants, particularly the SAFER Grant, are a tremendous resource to help cities such as Asheville expand their emergency response capabilities with a reduced burden on the local taxpayers.”  

A panel of fire experts at DHS awards SAFER and AFG grants through a competitive review process.  Congressman McHenry hosts workshops for 10th District EMS and fire departments to help guide personnel through the process and give them an inside view of what the committee looks for.  The workshops are taught by Cherryville Fire Chief Jeff Cash, a nationally recognized expert in his field and former member of DHS’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant review committee.  Since Congressman McHenry and Chief Cash began the program, 10th District EMS and fire departments have consistently won more grants than departments in most of North Carolina’s other Congressional Districts.  

Asheville is one of three Tenth District departments to receive SAFER funding thus far during the 2017 cycle with a total of $1,276,115 in funds distributed among those departments and one of seven departments to receive AFG grant funding with a total of $738,509 allotted among those departments. 

Grants will continue to be announced in rounds weekly through the coming months.
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