The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday $2.5 million in direct assistance grants to 84 volunteer and combination fire departments nationwide through the agency’s FY2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental program.

The Program includes an $11,645 grant to the Belchertown Fire Department and a $33,238 grant for the Cheshire Volunteer Fire Department here in Berkshire County.

The Cheshire, MA award is for a regional project benefitting the Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg and Williamstown Fire Departments in Massachusetts, and the Stamford Fire Department in Vermont.

Authorized and funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, the Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental is a $100 million supplemental funding opportunity to support the purchase of personal protective equipment and related disinfectant supplies and equipment to help the fire services prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By law, 25 percent of the available Assistance to Firefighters Grant funds must be awarded to volunteer fire departments and another 25 percent must be awarded to combination fire departments. The funding being announced today encompasses the fulfillment of that requirement to volunteer and combination fire departments. A volunteer fire department means a fire department that has an all-volunteer force of firefighting personnel. A combination fire department means a fire department that has paid firefighting personnel and volunteer firefighting personnel. Fire departments which pay fees/stipends (paid on-call firefighters) are also considered under this category.

FEMA obligates funding for this project directly to the recipient fire department. It is the recipient’s responsibility to manage their grant award within federal guidelines with technical assistance and monitoring provided by FEMA Fire Program Specialists.

Additional information about FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters grant programs may be found at

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