DOVER, DE - In an effort to provide Delaware firefighters with the tools necessary to be competitive in the federal grants process, a workshop will be held in the state's capitol later this month. The (USFA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are sponsoring the workshop to answer questions and advise departments on the 2002 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Information will be presented on both the program and the application process. Delaware's congressional delegation is working to highlight the program as a tool for preparing the state's fire companies with the knowledge and expertise needed to successfully compete for federal funds. Senator Joseph Biden Jr., Senator Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle are members of the bipartisan Congressional Fire Services Congress. The largest caucus in Congress, the Fire Caucus unites Republicans and Democrats in support of fire service legislation benefitting first responders. "Since September 11, we, as a nation, have become more acutely aware of the potential dangers we face from terrorists, not oceans away, but in our own backyard," said Senator Biden, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Fire Caucus. "It is our obligation to ensure that those who are charged with our protection, our local firefighters, have the tools, resources and training they need to do they dangerous job we ask of them. Tom, Mike and I want to make sure that Delaware's firefighters have a leg up when it comes to competing for federal dollars." "Now more than ever, the nation recognizes the inherent risk to and bravery of our firefighters, catapulted into the spotlight after the tragic events this past fall. It is our responsibility to see that they are equipped," Carper said. "Last year, Delaware firefighters successfully competed for a small pot of federal money. This year, the funding will be greater, as will the competition. This workshop looks to demystify the process and give our firefighters a competitive edge." "Delaware firefighters work tirelessly to protect and preserve the lives and property of their fellow citizens. By carrying on the noble tradition of service, they help form the backbone of the Delaware community. We witness their courage day in and day out and it is our job to support them. This workshop will help Delaware fire departments remain competitive for federal funding opportunities and empower them as the American heroes they are," said Representative Mike Castle. When: Wednesday, February 27 7:00-9:00 p.m. Where: Delaware State Fire School 1461 Chestnut Grove, Dover Fire departments can access additional information and updates from the FEMA grant website at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/grants. Those interested in weekly grant updates may send an email to Federalgrants@carper.senate.gov to sign up for a newsletter that identifies funding and partnership opportunities.