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updated: 7/3/2014 6:02 AM

Federal money for South Side fire department

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Associated Press

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making nearly $1.8 million available to a fire department in one of Chicago's southern suburbs.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's office says the money goes to the Homewood Fire Department. Homewood applied for the grant on behalf of the region's joint dispatch center.

The money announced Wednesday will enable 18 departments in the south suburbs to issue new portable radios. They're meant to improve communication between firefighters as they respond to fires and other emergency responders.

The funding comes through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Since 2001, that program has provided more than $5 billion to first-responders nationwide to help them purchase equipment and pay for training.

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