The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal announced Thursday the recipients of the 2021 Small Equipment Grant Program, including nine fire departments from La Salle, Bureau, Putnam, Marshall and Kendall counties.
The Spring Valley Fire Department was among the recipients. The department will receive $19,950 to buy new air bottles for outdated air packs.
Other departments receiving money include the Oglesby Fire Department ($21,995), Sheridan Community Fire Protection District ($26,000), Tonica Volunteer Fire Department ($25,528), Seneca Fire Protection and Ambulance District ($2,500), Mineral-Gold Fire Protection District ($24,627), Neponset Fire Protection District ($21,760), Newark Fire Protection District ($26,000) and Lacon-Sparland Fire Protection District ($25,820).
A total of $3.3 million was awarded to 149 fire departments/districts and EMS providers across the state. The OSFM received 448 applications, requesting around $10.5 million in funding for this grant period.
“First responders put their lives on the line every single day to do the critical work of protecting Illinois’ communities. 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,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “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.”
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. 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. 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,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.