- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Fire departments in North Dakota trying to buy new equipment are being encouraged to apply for federal funding.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says eligible fire departments should apply for grants that can help provide critically needed equipment to improve the readiness of first responders.

The Federal Management Agency is making the money available through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is meant to help fire departments and emergency medical service organizations purchase response equipment, personal protective equipment and vehicles.

The Mandan Rural Fire Protection District was granted $87,000 through the assistance program last year.

Heitkamp is the daughter of a volunteer firefighter. She says in North Dakota, 96 percent of first responders are volunteers and this funding supports their safety.

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