$20 Million and Counting for Heritage Program Grants

As little as $5,000 and as large as more than $100,000, the grants from the Fireman's Fund Insurance Co.'s Heritage Program are adding up fast. Four years after the program began, its grants topped $20 million last month when a $10,000 grant allowed the Heath, Texas, public safety department to buy an educational robot to teach children to protect themselves from fires and other dangers in the community.

More than 1,100 fire departments have received grants thus far. Fireman's Fund says the donations make up for gaps left by growing budget cuts.

"This is a program that has a direct impact in helping local fire departments, big and small, all across the country," said Fireman's Fund President/CEO Mike LaRocco. "The equipment purchased with our grant money not only makes communities safer; it has literally saved lives, and that's what we're most proud of."

Grant money frequently is used to buy extrication gear, automated external defibrillators, thermal imaging cameras, fire safety houses for children, and other equipment. Departments also conduct training and present community education programs with this money.

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