U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced today that three Rhode Island fire departments have been awarded Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The AFG funds are to be used for operations and safety in each of the three departments, including:
The Woonsocket Fire Department will receive $271,292 for the construction of new fire alarms systems in four fire stations and to purchase personal escape systems -- which allow firefighters trapped in life-threatening situations to quickly repel out a window to safety -- for each member of the department.
The Cranston Fire Department will receive $382,504 to help install new sprinkler systems in six of its facilities.
The Harmony Fire District will receive $38,786 for a Cardiac Monitor, which will help fire department personnel on the scene determine the most appropriate treatment and ultimately the best hospital destination choice for a patient in need.
“Our firefighters work hard every day to keep the public safe. I’m pleased to support funding for the Assistance Firefighters Grants program to help ensure that they have that equipment and training they need. These federal grants will provide critically needed equipment and protective gear to allow our firefighters to provide better care to people in distress,” said Senator Reed.
“Our firefighters are often taking risks to protect us and keep our families and neighborhoods safe,” said Senator Whitehouse. “These grants will help ensure that our local departments in Woonsocket, Cranston and the village of Harmony have the resources they need to effectively respond to emergencies.”
“I have strongly supported the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program through the appropriations process, and I am so pleased to see the benefits in action right here in Rhode Island,” said Congressman Langevin. “The men and women of the Harmony, Woonsocket and Cranston Fire Departments all risk their lives to keep our communities safe, and these funds will support them in that work and help to keep them safe.”
“I am very pleased to join my colleagues in announcing these critical resources that will help firefighters more effectively and safely protect our communities,” said Congressman Cicilline. “I will continue fighting in Washington to support programs such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to ensure that our cities and towns continue to receive the federal funding necessary to provide effective services for families across our entire state.”
Last year, Congress appropriated $320.9 million in competitive, federal AFG grants to help fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations nationwide.
“On behalf of the residents of the City of Cranston, I would like to thank our Congressional Delegation for securing these federal funds to upgrade our fire stations to meet today’s stringent safety standards. We welcome any assistance from Washington that helps our residents obtain better services at lower costs,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.
“The heart monitor/defibrillator we will be purchasing with these grant funds will replace our 9-year-old unit that has exceeded its recommended lifespan. Additionally, grant funding will be used to purchase a simulator that will train our department to use the new system. These items are a critical need and will enhance the level of patient care provided to the community. With both fire districts and municipalities struggling to balance budgets, the AFG program is an essential resource to ensure we all have the appropriate equipment to safely and effectively respond to emergencies,” said Harmony Fire Department Chief Stuart D. Pearson.
“I am grateful to our Congressional delegation for helping our City secure this grant as submitted by Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw and Director of EMA, Timothy Walsh. This grant will help ensure that our facilities are properly alarmed and secured. Most importantly, this grant will also provide our dedicated firefighters with the necessary personal escape harnesses and required training. The protection of our hard working first responders remains one of my top concerns, and this grant makes it all possible,” said Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
Nationwide, 10,700 applications were submitted for AFG funds, available to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations and state fire training academies. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants