CHAMPAIGN — Champaign firefighters as well as firefighters from neighboring communities will soon receive leadership training as a result of a federal grant announced on Wednesday.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the Champaign Fire Department a $248,952 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to help the fire department to respond to fires and other types of emergencies. That's largest grant of the $1.3 million program to be handed out to an Illinois fire department.
"Our nation's firefighters are called upon day after day to protect America's citizens," Durbin said in a written release. "As these brave men and women put themselves in harm's way, we must ensure that they are equipped with the best tools possible to do their jobs well, and today's grants will help meet that goal."
Champaign Fire Chief Doug Forsman told WDWS-AM that the city, pending council approval, would add $62,000 to the federal grant, bringing the total to about $311,000.
Champaign Fire Department Capt. John Barker said the department is using the money to establish what the department is calling an incident command training center.
He said the center will consist of a series of classes that will be used to train Champaign firefighters and firefighters from other communities in leadership in handling fires.
Barker said the first group of 12 to 15 students is scheduled to complete its training in May.
WDWS-AM reporter Michael Kiser contributed to this report.