HAMILTON, NJ – A $13,393 federal grant has been awarded to the Robbinsville Township Fire Department for a cost-saving health and wellness program for Township firefighters, Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced today.

“This grant is a modest investment by some standards but it could have long-term, positive returns,” said Smith, a long-time member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “Mayor Fried and Deputy Chief Schaffener, who worked on this grant, should be praised for having foresight to start this project. Firefighting is a physically demanding job. Keeping the firefighters in top physical shape not only benefits the firefighters, but all residents whom they serve.”

According to Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried, the funding is earmarked for a wellness and fitness program and equipment for firefighters. Such a program is intended to result in a healthier, more physically fit fire fighting force, and will provide cost-savings to the Township because it will reduce sick time, workers’ comp claims and disability.

Robbinsville Township and the Fire Division sincerely thank Congressman Chris Smith for his recent letter of support in helping to secure this very generous Wellness and Fitness Grant,” Fried said. “With new exercise equipment and training for two staff members to become trainers through the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Peer Fitness Program, we are another step closer to meeting the fitness needs of our firefighters and other staff. I want to thank Congressman Smith, on behalf of Deputy Fire Chief Dan Schaffener, for his great support of our Fire Department throughout the years.”

Smith explained that the funding is awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) program. The purpose of the AFG Program is to award grants directly to fire departments, non-affiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Using a competitive process that is overseen by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

The AFG Program expects to award approximately $306 million in competitive grants nationwide.