Vancouver - U.S. Rep. Brian Baird last week announced seven federal grants for fire districts in the state Third Congressional District totaling $607,073. The grants are part of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) $750 million Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program for FY 2004.

In Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, the grants will go to Pacific County Fire District #8 ($166,500); Wahkiakum Fire District #3 ($61,200); and Wahkiakum Fire District #4 ($51,507). The money will be used for purposes as varied as parts replacement, new communications equipment, self contained breathing apparatuses, and vehicles.

"Our firefighters go to bat for us every time they answer a call," Baird said. "This money will enable them to pay for needed equipment to make their jobs as safe as possible. Our local fire districts did a tremendous job of pursuing this grant money."

The AFG program supports departments by providing them with the resources necessary to protect the public and their firefighters. Grant applicants were required to demonstrate financial need and explain the benefits expected from grant funding. Any fire departments with questions regarding the AFG program can reach the grants help desk at 1-866-274-0960, or by e-mail at: firegrants@dhs.gov. For the most current information regarding the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, visit (www.firegrantsupport.com).

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