SPRINGFIELD – The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced the recipients of the 2023 Small Equipment Grant Program. A total of $1.5 million was awarded to 64 fire departments/districts and EMS providers across the state. The program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 each for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment.
Area grant recipients and their awards include Amboy Fire Protection District, $26,000; Compton Community Fire Protection District, $26,000; Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District, $23,016.80.
“We are going to use the grant to replace our equipment from 2007,” said Amboy Fire District Fire Chief Jeff Bryant Sr. “The grants are really important. With inflation and supply chain issues, it’s hard to keep up with updated equipment. The only way to keep up is grant and alternate funding or things get out of date really quickly. Then the problem is there is no way to catch up.
“The economy that we’re currently in, it’s not fair to the taxpayers. So, we’re doing our best to do everything on our own to make sure we facilitate the equipment and keep everything up to date as much as possible without causing issues for the taxing district.”
This program is an innovative approach to a problem that has long caused difficulties for fire departments and not-for profit ambulance services in Illinois, particularly those that have hardships in generating the necessary revenue for small equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase. The OSFM received 296 applications, requesting around $4.5 million in funding for this grant period.
“The OSFM continues to remain committed to our mission of helping departments and districts purchase essential firefighting or EMS equipment that will help not only their members to stay safe, but continue to provide lifesaving services to their communities,” said Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson. “Budgets remain tight, and the cost of firefighting equipment continues to rise, that is why programs such as our Small Equipment Grant are a great resource, especially for our smaller and rural volunteer fire departments across the state.”
Most Illinois fire departments, fire protections districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply.