BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill was on hand this morning at Bloomfield Fire Station Number 3 on East Passaic Avenue to announce that fire departments in Bloomfield, Nutley, Belleville, Orange, East Orange and West Orange received FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants.

Sherrill, the Representative from New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, was instrumental in helping secure the AFG Grants to these local fire departments.

“It’s always an honor to fight for firefighters,” said Rep. Sherrill.  “You have been on the front lines of the pandemic, responding to emergencies, and risking your health and the health of your families.”

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Sherrill continued, “coming from a military background, I know how important it is to be prepared for an emergency – you can’t just hop in a truck and figure it out on the fly.  To get the job done safely and effectively, a lot of support and logistical training is needed ahead of time.” 

These AFG Grants help ease the financial impact of the critical training that is necessary for all firefighters.

“It’s important to have the support and partnerships with our elected officials,” said Bloomfield Fire Chief Lou Venezia.  “Thank you Congresswoman Sherrill, Congressman Payne, Congressman Sires, our two U.S. Senators, and our Bloomfield Township Officials.  Firefighters are here to serve the community, but we need a commitment from our government leaders to do it well.  In receiving these grants, becoming a better fire department has become much easier today than it was yesterday.”

The FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants were established in 2001 to aid in fire departments obtaining critically needed resources.

“Two major issues plaquing not only local fire departments, but those across the country are the ability to secure funding for advanced training and the fire departments’ ability to ensure firefighter safety through regular health screenings,” said Bloomfield Fire Captain Joe Coletta.  

“These grants will help greatly in those two areas.”

Fire chiefs, captains and firefighters from Nutley, Belleville, West Orange, Orange and East Orange, along with Bloomfield Council members, attended this morning’s news conference.

“Bloomfield has been extremely lucky over the years for the federal representation we’ve had,” Venezia added.