Aguilar Announces Over $470,000 for San Manuel Fire Department
Rep. Pete Aguilar announced a federal grant of $474,422 for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Fire Department. The grant will allow San Manuel to hire three new firefighters over a three-year period and was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program. The grant award will partially fund these positions over a three year period, with the Tribe covering the remainder with matching funds. In addition to providing emergency services to protect tribal citizens and property, the San Manuel Fire Department plays a critical role in firefighting in the region. The Department has deployed to assist with six California wildfires, including the Mendocino-Complex Fire, during the 2018 fire season.
“San Bernardino County fire agencies work together at the county, city and tribal levels to help keep our community safe from the devastating wildfires that California faces each year,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “I’m proud to announce this funding for the San Manuel Fire Department, which will help them increase the number of trained firefighters who are working to safeguard the reservation and surrounding community.”
Michael J. Smith, Chief of the San Manuel Fire Department, commented, “San Manuel appreciates the support that it has received from the FEMA grant programs, and remains actively engaged in supporting the California Master Mutual Aid system in responding to wildland fires and other emergencies throughout our state. Support such as this grant enables our Tribal Fire Department to have the resources to respond with our neighboring fire departments to meet the historic challenges of recent wildfire activity in the region.”
“This initiative will not only enhance public safety and fire suppression capabilities of our Tribe, but will also extend these protections to our neighbors in the community,” said San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “With the addition of three new firefighters, San Manuel Fire Department will have the ability to make a greater impact on safety in the region. San Manuel is grateful for this partnership with FEMA.”
A Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Aguilar successfully fought for an increase in FEMA Grant funding for local fire departments for Fiscal Year 2018. Earlier this year, Rep. Aguilar held a workshop for local fire departments to learn more about the grant application process for FEMA grants.