PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Fire Department has been awarded more than $3.3 million in federal funds to help save lives by providing a critical firefighter training initiative and offering free smoke alarm installations.

The money comes from two competitive grant programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  • Assistance to Firefighters Grant: $2,971,974 to develop and conduct department-wide training on building construction. (Requires $445,796 city contribution)
  • Fire Prevention & Safety: $376,905 to buy and install 20,000 traditional smoke alarms and 250 adaptive smoke alarms for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.  (Requires $18,845 city contribution)

“These funds will help us better protect the residents of Philadelphia and our members, who take incredible risks to make rescues and protect property,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “We are grateful to both FEMA and the City for supporting these vital projects.”

The building construction training was recommended in after-action reports on the death of PFD Lt. Matthew LeTourneau, who was killed in the line of duty in 2018 when the interior of cluttered rowhouse collapsed during a fire.

The program is envisioned as a “boot camp” that will be created by PFD members and customized with information about the unique array of buildings in Philadelphia – from Colonial-era structures and aging rowhouses to modern lightweight construction homes and office skyscrapers.

The smoke alarm grant will enable the PFD to install the life-saving devices in thousands of homes. Tragically, so far this year, fires in Philadelphia have killed 25 people, injured more than 150 people, and displaced nearly 600 families.

If you need traditional or adaptive smoke alarms, contact Philly 311. Residents should have smoke alarms on every floor of their home, including the basement.

Previous FEMA awards enabled the PFD to provide department-wide fire dynamics training and reopen four engine companies that had been closed for nearly 11 years.

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