Maine first responders can apply for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program grants from Aug. 15 until Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the grants.

The grants help fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Management Service organizations meet their firefighting and emergency response needs. The AFG Program seeks to support organizations that lack the tools and resources necessary to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and their emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.

“The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is an extremely critical source of funds for our fire and rescue personnel,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “These grants continually help provide Maine’s critical first responders with the equipment, training, and skills to better serve their communities.”

Collins, who strongly supported the creation of the AFG Program, noted that since that time, Maine fire departments have been awarded more than $50 million to help purchase new, used, or refurbished vehicles, and to obtain equipment for firefighting, interoperable communications, chemical detection, and other purposes that are essential to first responders.

Grant guidance for this program is available at grants.gov, and at fema.gov/firegrants/afggrants/index.shtm. Also the “Get Ready Guide”, available at fema.gov/pdf/firegrants/Get_Ready_Guide.pdf , may also be useful for potential applicants and is provided to answer questions and to help prepare grant applications.