BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Company was awarded a $105,274 federal grant in a special ceremony on Monday.

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) was joined by Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, Berkeley Heights Mayor Joseph Bruno, Fire Chief Anthony Padovano and members of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Department.  The fire company intends to use the grant to update communications equipment and assist the department in communicating with firefighters during emergency response situations.

“We all know the critical importance of effective and clear communications, especially when the lives of citizens and emergency responders are in jeopardy,” Lance said.  “This federal investment will enable the Berkeley Heights Fire Department to purchase and install communications equipment to allow its officers and firefighters to communicate with greater reliability and respond more effectively to emergency situations.”

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The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Company was founded in 1928 and is composed entirely of volunteers. The department protects the more than 13,000 residents and thousands of commuters that pass through the township each day and responded to more than 700 incidents in 2012.

"I would like to thank Congressman Leonard Lance for his help and assistance in us getting grant,” Bruno said. “As always, he continues to demonstrate his support of firefighters and first responders. His fiscal diligence insures that federal tax dollars is spent wisely."

As a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the 7th-District lawmaker has voted to increase federal investments for both the FIRE and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs, which were created by Congress to help address the significant staffing, equipment, training and health and safety needs of first responders.