Local News

Sycamore Fire Department among agencies awarded chunk of $3.3M across state for first responders

Pritzker awards Sycamore Fire Department $13,300 for equipment

SYCAMORE - The Sycamore Fire Department was among those 149 fire agencies across the state awarded a cumulative $3.3 million from the Office of the Illinois Fire Marshal’s Small Equipment Grant Program.

According to a news release from the state fire marshal’s office, the money was awarded to nearly 150 fire departments and protection districts, along with EMS providers across Illinois. The OSFM received 448 applications, requesting around $10.5 million in funding for this grant period.

Acting Sycamore City Manager Maggie Peck said the $13,363 awarded to the Sycamore Fire Department will equip the majority of Sycamore’s ambulances with a LUCAS chest compression machine.

“It is really good,” Peck said. “So we will have three out of four of our ambulances fully equipped with those. That’s a great thing for our residents.”

The Small Equipment Grant Program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 each for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment.

“First responders put their lives on the line every single day to do the critical work of protecting Illinois’ communities,” said Gov. JB Pritzker in a statement Thursday. “I am pleased to award $3.3 million in small equipment grants to 149 fire departments and EMS providers throughout the state, providing critical funding that will enable the purchase of new firefighting and ambulance equipment. On behalf of all Illinois residents, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to first responders for the work they do and their ongoing efforts to maintain the safety of our families and communities.”

This program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for the fire departments and not-for profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that have hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase.

“Departments have had to make tough financial decisions, especially this year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez in a statement. “Ensuring our first responders in Illinois have properly functioning lifesaving equipment they need to perform their duties safely, while protection their communities, is our top priority. The Small Equipment Grant Program helps reduce the burden on smaller departments/districts while replacing aging and sometimes failing small equipment.”

Most Illinois fire departments, fire protections districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply. All fire departments, fire protections districts and township fire department applicants were required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System for a minimum of two years prior to applying.