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Kensington Fire Department gets federal boost

The Kensington Fire Department is one of 21 fire departments throughout the state to receive funding as part of The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

Nearly $1.5 million was distributed to fire and rescue departments this past January.

The Kensington Fire Department received $37,580.

The money will be used to purchase 19 sets of structural fire turnout gear, according to Kensington Fire Chief Joey Nessman.

This is not the first time the department received money from the AFG Program. Nessman noted the department received money in 2006, which was used to purchase a fire truck and it also received funds in 2007, which were used to purchase extrication equipment.

The grant is applied for every year, he said.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the AFG Program.

Additionally, it's a component of a larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the nation's overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards, according to members of Minnesota's congressional delegation.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said in a January 28 news release, "I've always believed that the first responsibility of government is to protect the safety of its citizens. This funding will provide Minnesota's firefighters with the critical equipment and training they need to respond to community emergencies and keep our families safe."

The AFG Program will provide critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

"In today's tough economic conditions, it's absolutely crucial that we not drop the ball on critical services like funding for first responders," said U.S. Senator Al Franken. "Minnesota's firefighter's exhibit tremendous skill and courage every day they're on the job. They deserve to know they'll have the right equipment and the right training to get the job done as safely as possible."

In 2009, the AFG Program awarded approximately $565 million in competitive grants to fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations.