WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today joined with Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien to announce that the Pawtucket Fire Department will receive $2,448,938 and the Kingston Fire District will receive $168,100 in federal funding to recruit, hire, train and retain firefighters. The funding was awarded from the the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The federal funds will be used to help Pawtucket fund the hiring of 13 firefighter positions and Kingston will use its grant for a tuition assistance reimbursement program to enhance recruitment and retention efforts of volunteer firefighters.
“This is great news for both the city Pawtucket and Kingston Fire District. These federal funds will boost staffing levels, enhance public safety, and help these fire departments better protect the communities they serve. I was proud to work with Mayor Grebien and Chief William Sisson to support Pawtucket’s staffing needs. I was also pleased to support Chief Nathan Barrington’s efforts to recruit and retain firefighters in Kingston,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, who helped make $345 million available for Fire Grants and SAFER hiring grants in the latest Omnibus Appropriations law.
“Congratulations to Mayor Grebien, Chief Sisson, and Chief Barrington on winning these competitive federal funds to recruit and hire more firefighters in their communities,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Making sure Rhode Island firehouses are well-staffed and well-trained will ensure that first responders can do their jobs safely and effectively.”
“I’m pleased to announce that Pawtucket and Kingston are being awarded more than $2.5 million in SAFER grant funding to recruit, hire, and retain more firefighters,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the SAFER program. “Our firefighters risk their lives protecting the communities they serve and ensuring adequate staffing levels is crucial to the safety of our first responders and residents. Congratulations to Mayor Grebien and the Kingston Fire District for receiving this competitive grant.”
“Bringing federal funds back to Rhode Island is one of my most current important responsibilities as a member of Congress,” said Congressman Cicilline. “These critical resources will support the heroic work done by firefighters and other emergency responders in communities across our state. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Congressional Delegation to deliver results for Rhode Island.”
“The City of Pawtucket is fortunate to have a hardworking federal delegation in Senators Reed and Whitehouse along with Congressman Cicilline and Langevin. Their support is critical as we improve our public safety and work to meet the health needs of our residents,” said Mayor Grebien. “The SAFER grant funding will allow Pawtucket to reinvest in our firefighters. As technology changes and fire suppression systems improve, a community still needs to invest in its overall workforce. This grant will help us as we make this transition.”
With these competitive federal grants, Rhode Island has now received over $7 million in federal fire grant safety funding this year to help eleven fire departments throughout the state. Since 2005, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders have won over $34.5 million in federal SAFER awards.