Governor Abbott announces grant awards for border zone fire departments

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday $1 million in grant funding through the Border Zone Fire Department (BZFD) program to support professional fire departments along the Texas-Mexico border region. These funds will provide specialized equipment, maintenance, and medical supplies to support emergency services associated with the execution of border security activities, including:

  • Watercraft (boats) and related equipment (personal flotation devices, tow tethers, etc.) which allow fire departments to assist in border operations along the Rio Grande River;
  • Extrication equipment (Jaws of Life cutter, spreader, ram) for vehicle accidents often related to high-speed pursuits involving human smuggling attempts; and
  • Chemical detectors/identifiers and communications equipment for responding to cartel terrorism involving hazardous materials (HAZMAT) situations.

“These grants will aid our firefighters in their life-saving work along the border, and are part of Texas’ commitment to ensuring our first responders have the support they need to execute their responsibilities,” said Governor Abbott. “I am grateful to Representative Oscar Longoria for his instrumental role in securing funding for this important program, and to our first responders throughout the border region for preserving the safety and security of their communities and our state.”

Local jursidictions receiving funding through the BZFD program include: Brownsville, El Paso, Hidalgo, La Grulla, Laredo, Mercedes, Palmview, Rio Grande City, Robstown, Roma, San Juan, and Jim Hogg County.

The Governor’s Homeland Security Grants Division (HSGD) administers the state-funded Border Zone Fire Department program, which was created during the 86th Legislative Session. HSGD posted the request for applications under the BZFD last fall, and completed its review of proposed projects after consulting with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Representative Oscar Longoria (District 35), Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in securing funds for the BZFD through the Texas General Appropriations Act, Article I, Rider 32.

The information in this article was provided in a press release from the Press Office of Governor Abbott.