Press Release

Congressman McHenry Announces $358,350 in Homeland Security Grants to Three Gaston County Fire Departments

U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards Assistance to Firefighter Grant funds to Bessemer City, Gastonia and North Gaston Fire Departments

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Washington, September 11, 2018 | comments
Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) announced $358,350 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to local fire departments in the Tenth Congressional District. These grants come in the ninth round of the 2017 fiscal year Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), which aim to help firefighters and first responders throughout the country. 

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. Grants may be used for equipment or vehicle acquisition or for regional, multi-agency requests. 

The North Gaston Volunteer Fire Department received $251,315 in AFG funding. According to North Gaston Fire Chief William Cash, the grant funds will be used to purchase 40 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs to completely replace the department’s current inventory and bring them up to standard.  An air compressor to refill the air-packs will also be purchased.

The City of Gastonia Fire Department received $87,273.  According to Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch, the AFG funds will be used to purchase decontamination washers and dryers to clean firefighter turnout gear after fires and hazardous material incidents.

The Bessemer City Fire Department will receive $19,762 and plans to purchase various equipment with the funds.

“It is rare for one county to receive three AFG grants in one round of awards,” said Congressman McHenry. “Bessemer City, Gastonia and North Gaston  should be congratulated for writing strong grant narratives. These funds will help these departments better serve their communities and I look forward to visiting with each of these departments soon.”  

A panel of fire experts at DHS awards 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 AFG 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. 

Bessemer City, Gastonia and North Gaston are three of seven departments to receive AFG grant funding in the Tenth District during the 2017 grant funding cycle with a total of $738,509 distributed among those departments.

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