Lower Paxton is excited to announce that our 3 volunteer fire companies will receive funds from this grant
Last week, four local Dauphin County municipalities received a regional grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant (AFG) Program. Lower Paxton Township, Swatara Township, Susquehanna Township, and Harrisburg City will receive funding from the regional grant that was applied for by Swatara Township Fire Chief Michael Ibberson. The grant will benefit the seven fire departments within the four municipalities, consisting of twelve individual fire stations and 364 firefighters, by initiating a regional wellness and fitness program for firefighters.
The total grant amount of $383,100 from FEMA will go towards providing cancer screenings, behavior health exams, physical examinations, health examinations, and providing any needed immunizations. Additionally, each of the twelve fire stations will be able to purchase physical fitness equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, weight vests, and free weights. The local municipalities are only responsible for 10% of the total federal award amount – roughly $35,000 combined between all municipalities. The grant opportunity will initiate a beneficial wellness and fitness program that has never existed in the region with very little cost to the taxpayers of Dauphin County. Without the AFG grant, the program would not have been possible.
Per NIOSH, approximately 80 to 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year. This grant aims to reduce that possibility while providing for screenings to catch underlying issues before they are exacerbated by the stress to a firefighter’s body during an emergency response, considering approximately half of all firefighter line of duty deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
“I’m excited and proud that the grant application for the region was successful. Receiving this grant on behalf of the region will keep the 364 firefighters inherently safer in the performance of their duties. The citizens of Dauphin County and surrounding counties assisted by our firefighters will ultimately be safer because we are healthier,” said Chief Michael Ibberson of Swatara Township Fire Rescue.