MILLBURN, NJ – Congressman Leonard Lance, who represents Millburn Township in the 7th Congressional District, stopped by Millburn’s Fire Department on Monday, Sept. 19, to congratulate firefighters on their recent $100,000 award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The funds are from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants, which is intended for firefighting stakeholders throughout the country. In FY 2016, the program awarded $335 million in support of fire and EMS operations, safety programs, emergency vehicles and fire prevention. An additional $335 million was awarded for SAFER grants, which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.
“The Millburn Fire Department has a distinguished history and I commend all those who are involved today,” said Lance. “Millburn is deserving of this grant.”
Congressman Lance addressed the approximately 15 firefighters that were on duty at the station that day. During his speech, he mentioned the importance and competitiveness of the award as well as how New Jersey is one of the states that gives more dollars to the government than it receives. In fact, the 7th district tops the list of most money given amongst the 12 Congressional Districts that make up New Jersey. Each district has approximately 750,000 constituents.
Fire Chief Michael Roberts thanked Millburn Fire Department’s Captain Tom Pizzano who actually researched and wrote the winning grant. As the department doesn’t employ a professional grant writer, fire department officers write all proposals.
The funds will be used to install a fire suppression system in the fire department’s headquarters located on Essex St. Station Two, which is adjacent to Gero Park in Short Hills, already has a sprinkler system. A grant from a previous year paid for it. Roberts noted the importance of the need for this system, recanting a story of a fire at the Maplewood Fire Department where a crew was nearly trapped due to a lack of a suppression system and only one egress.
“A lot of people think that Millburn Township, as well off as we are, doesn’t deserve a grant," said Chief Roberts. “We have one of the best school systems in the country and that takes a lot of resources.”
He continued to say that the fire department doesn’t always get what it needs and neither does the Millburn Police Department. “These grants are very helpful” to help support the needs of the Township and preserve the safety of the residents.
Chief Roberts thanked the Congressman and his personal aide, Kevin Deutsch (Millburn High School Class of 2012). Deutsch grew up in Short Hills and attended the Glenwood School as an elementary student. He recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and will attend the University of Michigan Law School after his one-year internship with Congressman Lance.
Lance is up for re-election in November and will run against Democrat Peter Jacob. Jacob is a licensed social worker and resides in Union, NJ.