A $2.1 million federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application by the Hunterdon County Fire Chiefs’ Association for the purchase of 220 multi-band portable radios, designed to enhance communications between all emergency responders and mutual aid partners serving Hunterdon County, was unanimously endorsed by the County’s Commissioner Board at its February 21st meeting.
In a support letter to the FEMA Grants Program, Commissioner Board Director Zach Rich wrote that the grant funds are needed as ‘most fire departments in Hunterdon County rely upon volunteer service and community-based fundraising to meet their operational needs’ and that the multi band radios ‘will greatly enhance public safety within our communities.’
Director Rich noted, “The Hunterdon County Fire Chiefs’ Association deserve significant recognition for bringing together twenty fire companies and putting in many hours of volunteer work in the coordination, planning, and writing of the multijurisdictional AFG grant application.”
Hunterdon County’s Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey explained to the Commissioners during the Board meeting, “Support for the AFG grant application by the County Board is a critical component in the grant consideration process.
Presently, the County’s EMS and Fire Departments, mutual aid partners, and state emergency services agencies’ portable radios are limited to different bands creating coordination challenges. The new radios purchased under the grant will be multi-band, which allows for operation on different frequencies using a single device, greatly enhancing communication and coordination between responding units.”
The twenty volunteer Fire Companies have jointly agreed to providing a $195,250 local match for the AFG grant.