The Robstown Fire Department has received a $71,345 federal grant that will be used to purchase new equipment for the department's firefighters.

The grant was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

"This funding will help make sure first responders at the Robstown Volunteer Fire Department will have the resources necessary to keep the surrounding community safe," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said in a prepared statement. "We have a responsibility to support those working on the front lines every day to protect families, homes and property."

The award aims to enhance first responders' ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel, with respect to fire-related hazards, Cornyn added.

Fire Chief Richard Gonzalez said the department has made more of a concerted effort the past few years to apply for grant funding, most recently to purchase new fire trucks and other equipment.

"(The grants) allow us to buy new equipment," he said. "We've been getting some help, so it's good."

The City of Robstown's grants administrator, Beatriz Charro, said the department has applied for this particular grant unsuccessfully the past few years, but finally received it after applying in May 2009.

"These are highly competitive grants and we've applied for them several times," she said. "When we heard we got it and were awarded (the grant), we were so excited."

The department will purchase a new power saw, positive pressure fans, a monitoring and sampling device, portable water supply, cascade compressor/fill station, four air packs, 12 full sets of bunker gear and a $35,000 source capture exhaust system for the department's fire trucks.

"(The exhaust system) takes the carbon monoxide out of the building the firefighters stay in and provides a safe environment for them," Charro said. "It's one of the main reasons we applied for this grant."