HAZLETON U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, announced that one local fire department will receive more than $617,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.

Nesquehoning Hose Company No. 1 in Carbon County will receive $617,500. The money will be used to buy a new ladder truck.

"As a former mayor, I know how critical it is to fund public safety programs, and this FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant will help the Borough of Nesquehoning provide vital safety and security for its residents and the firefighters themselves," Barletta said. "In these challenging economic times, this grant will be welcome news to the firefighters and residents of Nesquehoning. I know this grant is a long time coming for the people of Nesquehoning, and I'm thrilled that I'm able to share this great news with them."

The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

More rounds of 2011 AFG program awards are expected.