For Immediate Release: February 22, 2010

Contacts: Kristin Milam 919-807-6011

OSFM Hosts Grant Writing Workshops for Local Fire Departments

State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin encourages participation: "There's money to be had."

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin announces that the Office of State Fire Marshal is partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to offer four free workshops statewide that will help local fire departments understand and participate in the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. In 2009, 101 Assistance to Firefighters Grants totaling $8,533,096 were distributed to North Carolina fire departments.

"It's come to my attention that many fire departments aren't applying for these grants because the grant process can be intimidating. That's why my office is hosting these workshops; we hope that communities all over North Carolina will benefit from these grants," said Commissioner Goodwin. "I encourage all fire departments to attend these workshops and learn the grant process. There's money to be had - in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single department - from this federal program, which is specifically designed to help your departments and your communities."

The grants funds help fire departments purchase equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources. Increasing the resources that fire departments have improves emergency response and fire protection, thus ultimately reducing homeowners insurance rates, Goodwin said.

Four grant writing workshops will be held across the state in March. The workshops will be taught by a FEMA Homeland Security fire programs specialist and will provide attendees with an overview of the grants available, changes to the application process and grant writing tips and common errors to avoid. The workshop dates are:

For more information, visit the OSFM Web site and look under the Fire and Rescue Personnel tab for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Workshops link or call 919-661-5880.