WOONSOCKET, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined with Congressman David Cicilline; FEMA Fire Program Specialist David Parr; and Woonsocket officials, including Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and Fire Chief Paul Shatraw, to celebrate a new fire engine and safety equipment that was recently purchased with the help of over $1 million in federal funds. 

The Woonsocket Fire Department used $681,819 in federal funds to purchase a new aerial ladder truck and $377,055 in federal grants to purchase new safety gear. The funds, which were awarded to the city in 2016 and 2017, were made available by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). 

The new truck features a 110-foot ladder and a “pre-piped waterway,” that can help firefighters save valuable time during an emergency by connecting right from the hydrant to the rear of the truck, allowing them to quickly shoot water to the top of the ladder instead of completing a series of connections typically required by older models of trucks.  This new vehicle will also have a regional impact, allowing the Woonsocket Fire Department to better support surrounding town fire departments when responding to mutual aid emergencies.

The safety gear includes 48 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with integrated thermal imaging cameras, the purchase of new face pieces for each firefighter, two Rapid Intervention Packs and a new cascade air fill system.

“This new equipment is absolutely critical to firefighter safety and will enhance public safety in Woonsocket and surrounding communities.  I am grateful to our outstanding firefighters for their courage, compassion, and commitment.  I am also grateful to David Parr, FEMA’s Region 1 specialist for the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, for all the outreach he and his colleagues do with fire departments all over Rhode Island,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who helped make $350 million available for Fire Grants in the latest Omnibus Appropriations law, and leads an annual workshop for fire departments across the state to help them successfully apply for federal grants.

“It’s the least we can do to make sure the first responders who put their lives on the line each day to protect the public have the tools to do their jobs safely and effectively. Congratulations to Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and Chief Shatraw on helping bring Woonsocket more than $1 million in federal funding to provide the city’s firefighters with state-of-the-art equipment and a new ladder truck,” said Senator Whitehouse.