FEMA awards $7.5 million in preparedness grants to fire departments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Tuesday that it awarded more than $7.5 million in preparedness grants to fire departments in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas.

The Fort Worth, Texas Fire Department received the highest grant at close to $3.4 million. The Lafayette, Louisiana Consolidated Government Fire Department received more than $1.7 million and the Bloomfield, New Mexico Fire Department received more than $1 million. The Gravel Ridge, Arkansas Fire Department and the Vinita, Oklahoma Fire Department also received grants.

"These grants are crucial for communities, especially for the fire departments," Tony Robinson, the administrator of FEMA Region 6, said. "The funding helps ensure that there are enough first responders to protect lives and property."

The federal grants are part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants program, also known as SAFER. The program was created to provide direct funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to assist them in increasing or maintaining the number of available, trained and front-line firefighters.

FEMA's mission is to support first responders and citizens to make sure the U.S. works together to build, sustain and improve the capacity to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate man-made and natural hazards.