Encinitas Fire Department receives $50K Assistance to Firefighters grant


The Department of Homeland Security recently awarded the Encinitas Fire Department an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) in the amount of $50,013 to purchase a new self-contained breathing apparatus air compressor system.

Held at Station 5, the air compressor system refills the cylinder bottles that provide air to firefighters when they battle fires. The lifeguards also use the bottle refill system for their self-contained underwater breathing apparatuses.

Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are awarded to local career and volunteer fire agencies across the country through the AFG program. Agencies must submit an application stating their need for the funding. A highly competitive grant, the award is offered by FEMA to just 25 percent of applicants each year.

The department applied in December 2014 to replace its 26-year-old air compressor system and was thrilled to hear it had been selected as a grant recipient. Receiving this grant makes it possible for the department to retire dated equipment.

“This new system will be much safer for firefighters,” said Battalion Chief Ford, who played a major role in the grant application process, “as it will have a blast-proof chamber that would contain any explosions of failed bottle refills.”

The AFG grant also has regional benefits as reflected in the frequency with which Encinitas assists other fire departments, including Solana Beach, Del Mar and Carlsbad.

As part of the award terms, the city of Encinitas is responsible for providing 10 percent of the equipment costs. Before receiving the grant, funds to replace the air compressor were approved by the council in the Fiscal Year 2015/16 budget. Therefore, receipt of the award means roughly $50,000 will be diverted back to the General Fund.