12/28/2012 — 

CRANSTON, RI – In an effort to enhance public safety and help fire departments upgrade equipment and train firefighters and paramedics, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative James Langevin today joined with Mayors Scott Avedisian and Allan Fung to announce more than $1.26 million in federal grants for the Warwick and Cranston Fire Departments.

Warwick will receive $741,741 to purchase six new automated external defibrillators (AED) that will be used to respond to victims of cardiac arrest.  The department will also use the money to help train firefighters assigned to Advanced Life Support ambulances to improve patient care when responding to medical emergencies.  Cranston will receive $521,944 to implement a computer aided dispatch system to improve the dispatch and response services of the department and to replace and upgrade the department’s firefighter breathing apparatus to improve firefighter safety. 

These competitive federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) were made available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to train firefighters and paramedics and upgrade equipment.  Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Representative Langevin wrote to DHS supporting both grant applications.

“At a time when state and local governments are facing significant budget difficulties, these federal grants enhance public safety by ensuring our firefighters have the appropriate training and equipment to safely and effectively respond to emergencies,” said Reed, who recently succeeded in including language in the National Defense Authorization Act to reauthorize and improve the AFG grant program, which is currently awaiting the President’s signature before it can become law.  “I commend Mayors Avedisian and Fung on their work to secure this much needed federal funding.”

"Our firefighters put their lives on the line to keep Rhode Islanders safe, and this funding will help ensure that they have the resources they need to continue doing so," said Senator Whitehouse.  “I appreciate the work of Mayor Fung and Mayor Avedisian and their fire chiefs to prepare their successful grant applications."

“It should not be lost on any lawmakers in Washington that if we do not address the fiscal cliff, every grant program will be subject to major cuts, and that includes initiatives critical to our first responders like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant,” said Langevin.  “This funding is vital to serve our communities’ needs and is an example of why we cannot budget using arbitrary across the board cuts.”

“We are very appreciative of the ongoing support Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin have given to the Warwick Fire Department as they pursue grants to improve services and upgrade equipment,” Avedisian said.  “These new AEDs and staff training will further help to ensure that people with a medical emergency will receive prompt, effective care.  Chief Armstrong and his grant writing team – Pvt. Scott Jensen, Lt. Jason Erban and Pvt. Christopher Albro – are to be commended for their ongoing efforts to secure funding for these important public safety initiatives.”

"Once again, Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin have helped Cranston residents by securing federal grants for vital public safety equipment.  These federal grants will help upgrade much needed technology to assist our fire department respond more efficiently to calls in the city.  Additionally, the funds to upgrade breathing apparatus will improve personal safety for our front line firefighters.  On behalf of the citizens of Cranston, I want to express our gratitude to the congressional delegation for assisting us during these challenging financial times," said Fung.

The AFG program awards grants through DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel.  Strengthening the resources of local fire departments and emergency responders helps communities meet the challenges of fire related hazards.