fire gear 070220BUNKER HILL – To ensure local first responders have the equipment necessary to keep residents safe, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is encouraging fire departments and ambulance services to apply for the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Small Equipment Grant Program.

Manar, who serves as Chair of the Senate Appropriations II Committee, cemented this annual program’s funding during last spring’s budget negotiations.

“It’s no secret that rural fire departments and ambulance services are continuously underfunded,” Manar said. “I saw a clear need to help first responders everywhere afford the equipment necessary to save lives, and that’s why I fought to include this program in the state budget.”

The program was created to help Illinois fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services that struggle to afford necessary equipment do their jobs.

In June, the Small Equipment Grant Program awarded $3.5 million to 154 fire departments and EMS providers. Applicants can also apply for personal infection control items such as masks, gowns and gloves.

“Our first responders have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one,” Manar said. “This is simply one small way of reaffirming our dedication to the women and men who continue serving their neighbors.”

Most Illinois fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments are eligible to apply. Stand-alone, not-for-profit ambulance service providers are eligible to apply as well.

For more information, visit the state fire marshal’s website.