After Fighting for Funding Increases, Aguilar and Torres Announce Nearly $2 Million for Rialto and Fontana Fire Departments
Reps. Pete Aguilar and Norma Torres announced $1,590,996 in federal grant funding for the City of Rialto and $301,363.63 in federal funding for the Fontana Fire Protection District. The funding was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) programs. The SAFER grant, awarded to the City of Rialto, will fund the hires of up to seven new firefighters and enable the Rialto Fire Department to expand their ability to provide life-saving assistance throughout the city. The AFG award will allow the Fontana Fire Protection District to replace and upgrade outdated radio equipment with Bluetooth-enabled breathing apparatuses in order to improve firefighter communication and safety. Both Aguilar and Torres serve on the House Appropriations Committee, which determines funding levels for federal agencies and programs, and have successfully fought for funding increases to programs such as SAFER and AFG that provide resources to first responders.
“From providing medical assistance to battling wildfires, fire departments across San Bernardino County work tirelessly to keep our community safe. I’ll continue fighting for increased funding for programs like SAFER and AFG to give Inland Empire first responders access to the critical resources they need,” said Rep. Aguilar.
“As a former 911 dispatcher and someone who lost her house to a fire, I know what it feels like to see a fire truck coming to your rescue. The firefighters of the Rialto Fire Department and the Fontana Fire Protection District selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to respond to emergencies and protect residents. That’s why I worked with Congressman Aguilar on the Appropriations Committee to secure this critical funding. SAFER and AFG grants ensure that our local fire departments in the Inland Empire are appropriately staffed and prepared to deploy capabilities effectively and efficiently,” said Rep. Torres.
“We’re excited to know that we were successful in securing the FEMA-SAFER grant during this cycle. I commend and applaud the efforts of our Fire Department, for continuing to pursue innovative approaches to fire services and public safety for the Rialto community, as well as regional assistance where needed,” said Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson.
“Fontana Fire District is thankful for the funding received from this grant which will allow us to replace our current obsolete portable 800mhz radios with the latest technology that will enhance our communications while on emergency incidents,” said San Bernardino County Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeff Birchfield. “One particular enhancement includes Bluetooth technology, which will allow for the radios to connect to our facemasks on our self-contained breathing apparatus, providing better communication to other units and incident commanders on the fireground.”