DENTON – A total of 180 local fire departments, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies and state training facilities for fire departments in five Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6 states are sharing more than $28 million in preparedness grants this year.

The funding is part of FEMA’s 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and includes financial assistance for equipment, vehicles, wellness and fitness programs, modifications to facilities, personal protective equipment, fire prevention projects, and the hiring, recruitment and retention of firefighters in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

There are three grant categories under this program – Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) and Fire Prevention & Safety Grants (FP&S). The AFG awards are designed to enhance the ability of eligible entities to protect the public and fire service personnel from fire and related hazards; SAFER awards provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, front line firefighters available in their communities; and FP&S grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards.

Some of the larger 2012 grants included a $3.3 million SAFER grant to the Corpus Christi Fire Department in Texas, a $2.7 million communications grant to the McAllen Fire Department in McAllen Texas, a $1.6 million grant to the Albuquerque Fire Department in New Mexico to purchase 50 Automated External Defibrillators, nearly $1 million to the Centerville, Louisiana Volunteer Fire Department for a variety of communications equipment, and a $549,000 SAFER grant to the Rogers Fire Department in Arkansas. In addition, the Louisiana Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigation (IAAI) in New Iberia, the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation in Stillwater and the Austin, Texas Fire Department each received more than $200,000 for fire prevention programs.

The 2013 application period for SAFER grants has already closed, while the period for AFG and PF&S grants is expected to open soon. For more information on these preparedness grants, visit Follow links on the website to see a full list of 2012 grants.