WARWICK, RI – In an effort to help local fire departments effectively respond to emergencies and keep communities safe, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced a total of $1,113,758 in federal funding to help the Warwick Fire Department purchase a new rescue vehicle and the North Kingstown, Little Compton, and Woonsocket fire departments upgrade essential equipment.
The federal funds are being awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. AFG grants are designed to supply critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect local communities. Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation helped include a total of $350 million for AFG firefighter equipment grants in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations law.
The Warwick Fire Department will use its $633,789 AFG grant to purchase a new, tandem-axle heavy duty rescue vehicle that will replace a dated, 26-year-old medium duty model that responded to over 1,600 incidents in 2016 alone. The new heavy duty vehicle will help firefighters with extrications, large vehicle stabilization, Advanced Life Support (ALS) medical response, surface and shoreline water rescue, rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and structural firefighting.
The North Kingstown Fire Department will use its $268,605 grant to replace its outdated Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) currently in use by firefighters. The purchase includes new SCBA units, SCBA bottles, and face pieces. The equipment will be used by firefighters during emergency response situations to ensure safe breathing amid fires and other situations involving toxic air quality.
The Little Compton Fire Department is receiving a regional $211,364 grant alongside the Woonsocket Fire Department to purchase new power cots, which are battery operated stretchers capable of lifting very heavy patients, incorporated with a hydraulic lift system that loads/unloads the power cot from the ambulance. The goal of the purchase is to reduce injuries to the department’s firefighter/EMTs, increase the safety of patients by decreasing cot drop incidents, and enhance the department’s operability throughout the region.
“These federal funds will help enhance public safety, improve emergency response capabilities, and provide our firefighters with the resources and equipment they need,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees FEMA funding. “I am grateful to our firefighters for the life-saving work they do and I will continue working hard at the federal level to support them and help them get the job done safely and effectively.”
“These grants will help equip our first responders with cutting-edge gear to do their job safely and effectively,” said Senator Whitehouse. “We’re grateful for everything they do to keep our communities safe.”
“It is critical that our firefighters possess quality tools that are suitable to meet the grueling demands of their profession,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the AFG program. “These highly competitive federal grants will help protect the health and safety of our first responders and the communities they serve.”
"I'm proud to have helped secure federal funding for our local fire departments," said Congressman Cicilline. "Our emergency responders deserve access to the best equipment possible so they can do their jobs safely and effectively. This funding will not only benefit our firefighters, but all Rhode Islanders."
“I am very grateful to Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin for their hard work to secure us the funding for this very necessary apparatus,” said Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. “The safety and well-being of all who live and work in our community and who travel through Warwick each year is of paramount importance to me and our public safety officials. This heavy-duty rescue vehicle will further ensure that we are able to respond to any crisis quickly and effectively. We are very fortunate to have a Congressional delegation that advocates so strongly for Rhode Island’s emergency responders and work tirelessly for our communities. I look forward to their continued support in the future for similar efforts to assure the ongoing safety of T.F. Green International Airport’s travelers and our community overall. ”
“The North Kingstown Fire Department has struggled in recent years with outdated breathing equipment,” said Scott Kettelle, Chief of the North Kingstown Fire Department. “Neighboring departments have loaned our department compliant air packs and cylinders to help us get by until today. I cannot thank our Federal Delegation and Senator Reed as well as FEMA enough for their continued support in making our fire department safer with this grant for NFPA compliant equipment.”
“My sincere thanks to our Federal Delegation and Senator Reed for their work in securing this much needed grant,” said North Kingstown Town Manager Ralph Mollis. “The North Kingstown Fire Department has been in need of new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus for some time now and this $280,000 grant will allow us to move forward with this purchase and upgrade immediately. North Kingstown has an outstanding fire department and the Federal Delegation is providing us with the funds to provide our department with the tools to excel and do so safely. Our sincere thanks.”
“The Town of Little Compton greatly appreciates the Assistance to Firefighters Grant recently announced,” said Little Compton Town Council President Robert Mushen. “This grant will enable a significant improvement in speed and safety of response to emergencies requiring the use of a stretcher. For a small town with a small department, this will be an unprecedented ‘response multiplier.’”
Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured over $39 million in AFG awards since 2001 to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, and training.