Home Bensalem Times $50 million goes to fire, rescue, EMS affected by COVID-19

$50 million goes to fire, rescue, EMS affected by COVID-19

A number of Bucks County departments are recipients

Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the Office of State Fire Commissioner will be awarding $50 million worth of grant funding to fire, rescue, and EMS across the commonwealth to offset expenses related to COVID-19.

“Our fire, rescue and EMS are the first responders often on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wolf said. “All these professionals – some working as volunteers – give selflessly to support neighbors and communities. These CARES Act grants can assist in supporting them and their ongoing efforts to keep their neighbors and communities protected and safe.”

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our office has remained open to provide the necessary resources that our fire service and EMS personnel need to fulfill a critical public safety role throughout the Commonwealth,” said Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego. “Departments have been exceptionally patient during this process, as our office has worked through changing federal guidance dictating how these dollars can be spent.”

The purpose of this funding is to provide some much-needed financial assistance to first responders who have found it difficult to keep their operations running due to COVID-19. Of the $50 million in funding set aside for this new program, $44 million will be made available to fire and rescue companies and the remaining $6 million will go to EMS companies.

As stated in Act 26, the money must be used for operational and equipment expenses. Eligible expenses include, not are not limited to:

– Utilities
– Insurance
– Apparatus repairs/fuel
– Personal protective equipment
– Lost revenues due to pandemic restrictions
– Expenses for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting equipment and property or other expenses incurred to prevent the spread of communicable illnesses

Program funds must be utilized for eligible expenses initiated on or after March 6, and completed on or before Dec. 30, to be considered as eligible for this grant program.

Grant recipients should expect to receive further communication from OSFC in the coming weeks. A full list of fire companies receiving grant awards, along with the recently-updated federal guidance, can be found here.

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