Illinois American Water is now accepting applications for the 2017 Firefighter Grant Program. The grants provide financial assistance to fire and emergency organizations serving Riverbend communities. The grants can be used for tools, protective gear, training and more.

Karen Cotton, Illinois American Water spokesman, tells The Big Z these grants are needed even more as departments across Illinois continue to deal with financial hurdles.

Click here for Cotton's comments

Applications for the grants can be emailed to Cotton at karen.cotton@amwater.com. She says the grants are available to any department within their service area.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)