Last week, both the offices of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, (D-La.) and David Vitter (R-La.) announced that a $79,515 grant from the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Program (AFG) had been awarded to support Collinston's Ward 8 Fire Protection District 1.

Landrieu is the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and released a statement about the grant.

“Firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our friends, families and neighbors. During fires and emergencies, they deserve to have the best equipment to get the job done,” said Sen. Landrieu. “The quality of their response equipment can literally mean the difference between life or death. This grant will ensure Collinston’s firefighters will have the tools and training they need to keep their community safe.”

The Collinston Fire Department and board applied for the grant which will help purchase new personal protective gear, such as self-contained breathing apparatuses (scbas) that will allow firefighters to walk into a smoke-filled room. The scbas the fire department currently has are outdated and no longer meet codes.

The funds received are a 95/5 percent matching grant. The $79,515 received from the grant will be paired with $4,185 from the department to purchase the new equipment.

Vitter also commented on the grant, which awarded a total of $440,681 to four Louisiana fire departments.

“Local firefighters’ hard work to protect families throughout Louisiana cannot be undervalued,” Vitter said. “Ensuring safety for all people in Louisiana continues to be a top responsibility.”