Robbinsville firefighters will receive a federal grant to be used to purchase essential personal protection equipment needed to protect the public—and public servants—during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

The more than $13,000 in federal funding “will help pay for masks, protective gowns and suits for first responders operating under COVID-19 safety practices,” Rep. Chris Smith said. The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the comprehensive recovery bill intended to help states, hospitals, first responders, workers, businesses and communities severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our firefighters and first responders are often the first on the scene to help a resident in distress, and they need good, reliable, medical grade quality PPE,” Smith said. “The key functions of the CARES Act, and why Congress moved it so quickly, are to help at all levels, from small businesses and individual workers, to states, counties and towns… and that includes our local fire departments, police and EMTs. I applaud Mayor Fried and Chief Schaffener for taking the initiative in applying for this grant.”

The Operations and Safety Grant comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s FY 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental awards. The grant is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

The AFG-S objectives are to provide resources that equip personnel to respond to the pandemic and support community resilience. The funding will allow the Robbinsville Township Fire Department to purchase 65 respirators and filters, 45 reusable coveralls and 75 reusable goggles, as well as disposable PPE, including 750 isolation gowns and 3,000 surgical masks.

“Being prepared for every situation is what sets our health care workers and first responders apart,” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said. “That means having the right personal protective equipment, particularly in the age of COVID-19 with the dangers our men and women on the front lines face every single day. Grants such as this AFG award help towns such as Robbinsville enormously, both in terms of supply and with our municipal budget so taxpayers can feel some relief. On behalf of Fire Chief Dan Schaffener, Police Chief Chris Nitti and our EMTs, thank you to Rep. Chris Smith for his constant efforts over the years in helping us secure these much-needed and greatly appreciated funds.”