fire jackets 111720CHAMPAIGN – To help fire departments, fire protection districts and township fire departments afford the tools and equipment they need, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging eligible applicants to submit an application to the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s (OSFM) Small Equipment Grant Program.

“Firefighters and first responders have been on the front lines during this pandemic, and it’s our job to ensure they have the equipment needed to stay safe,” Bennett said. “I encourage departments to take advantage of this grant opportunity so they can purchase new firefighting and ambulance equipment.”

The program awards grants of up to $26,000 for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. OSFM will award a total of $3.3 million to eligible fire departments and ambulance services through the program.

Across the state, many fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services struggle to generate the necessary revenue to purchase small equipment, such as air-packs and portable radios.

Eligible applicants are required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for a minimum of two years prior to applying. Due to NFIRS undergoing updates, the OSFM will require departments to be current through June 2020 for this grant period.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Jan. 29, 2021. Additional information including the application can be found on the State Fire Marshal’s website.