LANGHORNE, PA – Today, September 1, 2023, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) announced that the Bensalem Rescue Squad received a FY 2022 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enhance their response capabilities and to protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel more effectively from fire and other related hazards.

The Bensalem Rescue Squad received a total of $172,043.63 that will be used for Operation and Safety through the AFG Program. The purpose of the AFG Program is to award grants directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services (EMS) organizations, and State Fire Training Academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Using a competitive process that is informed by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to eligible applicants whose applications best address the priorities of the AFG Program. Since FY 2001, the AFG Program has awarded approximately $8.1 billion in grants to provide critically needed resources. The total amount appropriated for the FY 2022 AFG Program initiative is $324 million.

“As an EMS unit that has responded to over 9,000 emergency 911 calls last year alone, the Bensalem Rescue Squad is so essential to Bensalem and beyond,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “This unit not only responds to traditional EMT calls, but they also serve as a Mobile Stroke Unit for the surrounding communities and provide essential services, in partnership with Bucks County Drug & Alcohol, to help community members take this crucial step towards recovery. As a certified EMT, I am proud to have supported this grant for Bensalem Rescue Squad and I am proud to support all of the essential services they provide to our community.”

The Bensalem Rescue Squad/Bensalem Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) was founded by Carole Czerniak, Donald Kueny, and Gene Fanini in 1980. What once was an entirely volunteer organization is now a private, non-profit that provides emergency medical services in Bensalem Township to its residents and visitors. Bensalem Emergency Medical services also provides mutual aid to neighboring squads in Bucks County. Services are provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Currently, the squad is overseen by Executive Director Thomas Topley who started at BEMS as a volunteer in the early 1980s.

The mission of the Bensalem Rescue Squad is to provide competent and caring aid to the victims of emergencies in our community, through prevention, public education, and emergency services. The mission of the Squad includes cooperating with other services and aggressively seeking ways to better protect and treat the public they serve.

Currently, FEMA is on Round 9 of the competitive FY 2022 AFG announcements and will continue to announce AFG grants on a weekly basis. This program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.