Smith: CARES Act emergency funds for PPE for Belmar firefighters, first responders
The Belmar Borough Fire Department will receive modest but critical federal funding to purchase essential personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to protect the public—and public servants—during the ongoing coronavirus emergency, said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) today.
“Belmar runs an all-volunteer fire department whose members are often the first on the scene and they need good, reliable, medical-grade quality PPE,” stated Smith (NJ-04). “Specifically, this federal funding will help pay for washable Tyvek suits for first responders operating COVID-19 safety practices in Belmar and Lake Como,” he said.
“I would like to thank Congressman Chris Smith for helping Belmar obtain a grant in the amount of almost $6,000 for 50 sets of washable Personal Protective Equipment suits for our Fire Department,” said Mayor Walsifer. “The suits will help keep our personnel safe from the COVID-19 virus. Congressman Smith is always looking out for our First Responders. I am so happy to have him in Washington D.C. working hard to keep everyone safe. Thank you again Congressman Smith.”
The department, which counts 50 volunteer members, serves over 7,600 Belmar and Lake Como residents and businesses. The population they protect balloons to over 50,000 in the summer season. It is comprised of three fire houses: Union Fire Co., Goodwill Fire Co., and Volunteer Hook and Ladder.
The federal funds are being provided through the Operations and Safety Grant administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
“The intent of the this program is to get grant money directly into the hands of our firefighters and EMS in towns like Belmar and Lake Como and to boost their ability to respond to the pandemic and support community resilience,” Smith said. “I applaud Mayor Walsifer and Fire Administrator Ryan Dullea for taking the initiative in applying for this grant. All 50 members of the department will have access to this PPE if they need it.”
Added money for the grant program was provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the comprehensive, recovery bill Smith supported to help states, hospitals, first responders, workers, businesses and communities severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The CARES Act was the third and the largest phase of the federal response enacted into law. Smith also supported Phase I, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020—which provided $8.3 billion for treatment and prevention measures, including in NJ. Smith also supported Phase II, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—provided paid sick leave, family medical leave, free testing, and expanded unemployment benefits among other provisions to help working Americans.