Washington – Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today announced new federal grants to three Connecticut fire departments, totaling $163,804. The funds, distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, will enable Connecticut firefighters to enhance their emergency response capabilities. In fiscal year 2007, the AFG program will award approximately $490 million to fire and EMS departments across America.

“These new grants mean that Connecticut first responders will be equipped to protect the people of their towns in the event of fire or other emergencies,” said Dodd. “I’m pleased that the Department of Homeland Security continues to support Connecticut’s firefighters.”

“An investment in our firefighters means an investment in the safety of our communities,” said Lieberman. “These grants will help further our commitment to the critical missions that these brave men and women perform everyday in protecting our neighborhoods.”

The following fire departments were awarded federal grants:

City of Derby – $93,074
Southington Fire Department – $56,432
Darien Volunteer Fire Department – $14,298.

Senators Dodd and Lieberman have a long history of advocating for fire safety. In 2000, Dodd authored and Lieberman cosponsored the FIRE Act, which gives local fire departments the ability to purchase new equipment and initiate education and training programs. In 2003, Dodd authored and Lieberman cosponsored the SAFER Act, a law that gives local fire departments the ability to alleviate critical shortfalls in professional and volunteer personnel. Since the SAFER and FIRE Acts were enacted, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), now part of the Department of Homeland Security, has distributed 359 grants for a total of more than $35 million in Connecticut to help fire departments strengthen their response capabilities.