NORTH JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday marked the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), which has clawed $5.3 million dollars back to the Fifth District since 2016 when Gottheimer first took office.
Gottheimer joined Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), who led the original FIRE Act to create the AFG program — signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, at the Bill Pascrell, Jr. City of Paterson Fire Headquarters.
Administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the AFG program provides direct financial investment to eligible fire departments to equip and train emergency personnel for the demanding and ever-evolving nature of their work.
“I’m here today for two reasons — first, to thank Bill for his work leading the FIRE Act twenty years ago, which has helped towns and fire departments across North Jersey claw back our tax dollars to help our firefighters keep us safe, and, second, to reiterate how critical it is for the federal government to keep making these investments in our communities,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of both the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus.
Some highlights of the AFG program supporting Fifth District fire services include $750,000 for New Milford for a new ladder truck; the town of Belvidere, in Warren County, clawed back nearly $150,000 for SCBAs; $510,000 for Hackensack, Englewood, and Teaneck Fire Departments for rapid intervention training; $45,000 for Teaneck for a washer extractor and dryer to decontaminate firefighter gear and help prevent cancer; and hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars clawed back during the pandemic for Personal Protective Equipment for local fire departments.
Gottheimer was joined by local leaders, including Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9); Paterson Mayor André Sayegh; New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) President Ed Donnelly; Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) Vice President of Legislative Affairs Anthony Tarantino; Passaic County Undersheriff Humberto Cuadrado; and North Jersey fire departments, including the Fifth District’s Hackensack Fire Chief Tom Freeman, Hackensack Deputy Chief John Niland, and Teaneck Fire Department Chief Jordan Zaretsky.