Source: United States Senator for North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced $96,364 in federal funding for the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association to make sure the State Fire Training Academy has the resources to prepare and train North Dakota firefighters to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.
“It’s vital that our state’s firefighters have the proper equipment, training, and resources so they can keep themselves and our communities’ safe while doing their jobs,” said Heitkamp. “During emergencies, seconds can make all the difference. That’s why I have continued to advocate for federal funding to support organizations like the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association. In North Dakota, the vast majority of our firefighters are volunteers. They play a critical job in supporting our communities, and it’s essential that they get the support they need so every family and home remains safe.”
Heitkamp has long been an advocate for North Dakota’s firefighters. In December 2016, Heitkamp’s bipartisan RESPONSE Act was signed into law to make sure first responders get the quality training and resources they need to respond to hazardous materials incidents, such as crude oil derailments. Specifically, the bill established a public-private council of emergency responders, federal agencies, and leading experts to review training and best practices for first responders. After months of hard work, the council developed seven recommendations for Congress and the federal government to consider to help improve emergency responder training and resource allocation for HAZMAT incidents involving railroads. Those recommendations were included in a report issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) earlier this year. Support for first responders was also a cornerstone of her Strong & Safe Communities Initiative to help North Dakota’s communities thrive.
Heitkamp has also worked to improve first responder safety by helping secure $5 million in federal funding to support a one-of-a-kind federal training facility in Pueblo, Colorado that prepares first responders to handle hazmat incidents on the rails, such as crude oil train derailments.
This federal funding is available through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, operated by FEMA. This program enables fire departments and fire prevention and safety programs throughout North Dakota to receive support to continue and enhance their operations, while effectively protecting the state’s communities.