ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – The Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad has been awarded a FEMA/Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $118,750.


The Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase a new ambulance. Here, members of the squad participate in a recent St. Patrick's Day Parade in Highlands.

The funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance for the all-volunteer emergency medical services and rescue organization.

“This grant lifts a huge burden we faced of trying to replace an outdated ambulance,” said Richard Huff, chief of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad. “With these funds, we will immediately improve our organization and better serve our community.”

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ) announced the grant award April 22.

“I'm glad to see this funding provide improved equipment which will better protect the Atlantic Highlands community in emergency situations,” Pallone said in a statement.

Pallone added that organizations like the AHFAS “deserve the best equipment and training we can provide while they risk their lives to protect us every day.”

The AFG program is a coordinated effort by FEMA and the DHS to improve the nation's ability to respond to emergencies. During fiscal year 2009, the AFG program awarded approximately $565 million in competitive grants to fire departments and emergency medical services organizations whose activities best met the program's priorities. The awards are used to purchase vehicles, personal protective equipment and support training programs.

Since 1929, the AHFAS has been providing free, around-the-clock EMS and rescue services to the borough of Atlantic Highlands and occasionally the surrounding areas. The all-volunteer organization relies on donations from the borough, and the community, to provide this service.

“We are always searching for different sources of funding for the squad,” said AHFAS president Jerry Pandolfo. “This Assistance to Firefighters Grant serves as recognition that the organization is dedicated and vital to serving the community.”

The AHFAS was named the best volunteer EMS organization in the state in 2008 and in 2009 voted the best ambulance squad in Monmouth County by readers of the Asbury Park Press and named EMS Magazine's Gold Award winner for volunteer EMS squads.

“The AFG award will make a great organization even better, and stronger,” Huff said. “While the grant is awarded to the Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad, it really benefits everyone in the borough. We are grateful to FEMA and the DHS for this financial assistance.”