New Jersey earmarks Covid fund for fire departments


Share this content


New Jersey is set to use $10 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to help provide fire departments with more safety and sanitary equipment, officials announced Monday.

The state’s Firefighter Grant Program will allow local and regional fire departments to apply for the taxpayer money from the American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed to provide stimulus funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know how hard the pandemic was on our firefighting community,” said Governor Phil Murphy during an event championing the program at the Hackensack Fire Department. “We know the stress that all of you are under each and every day, not knowing what you may up against while on call … while simultaneously worried about the health of your families.”

Murphy said the money would be used not just for helmets, gloves, and boots but for chemical-free protective clothing and cleaning equipment and products to help prevent the spread of illness, noting that firefighters faced many health and safety risks during the pandemic.

“Firefighters have been working on the front lines with our health care and law enforcement professionals throughout this pandemic, and Governor Murphy and I are grateful for the heroic work they do every day to save lives,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

“The Firefighter Grant Program is going to help provide them with the essential resources they need to ensure their safety and well-being so they can continue to do their jobs.” 

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus said “We’re now clawing back even more federal dollars to support our local fire departments and first responders, particularly for our smaller ones where resources are even more stretched. This critical investment will not only keep our communities, families, and brave first responders safe, but it will also help lower our property taxes and make life more affordable for Jersey families.

“The new American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant program claws critical federal resources back from Washington for Jersey fire departments – to protect our communities, our families, firefighters, and EMTs. We must always get the backs of our first responders.”

Kyle Hughes, a Paterson firefighter and president of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association Local 2 union, welcomed the funds as firefighters across the state deal have dealt with the pandemic in addition to fires, floods, chemical spills, and downed wires the last two years.

“Despite this even greater risk, our members never wavered to their duties,” Hughes said. “They put others before themselves time and time again. … Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox