8/19/2015 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline announced new federal funding for the Central Falls Fire Department to hire new firefighters, and for both Central Falls and Portsmouth to purchase equipment.  The funding is made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program.

The Central Falls Fire Department will receive $544,264 from the SAFER program to hire four new firefighters, as well as $28,572 for fire hose replacement.  The Portsmouth Fire Department will receive $14,767 to purchase protective gear for its firefighters.

“These grants will help ensure our fire departments are properly staffed and equipped.  I will continue working hard to ensure federal support and grant opportunities are available to all Rhode Island fire departments," said Senator Reed, who leads an annual fire grant workshop to help fire departments across the state apply for similar competitive federal assistance.  “I commend Mayor Diossa and his team and the Portsmouth Fire Department for successfully winning these peer-reviewed, competitive grants.”

“Our firefighters go into harm’s way to keep all of us safe.  This funding will help ensure that they have the equipment, and the personnel, to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “I congratulate Mayor Diossa and the Central Falls Fire Department, and the Portsmouth Fire Department, for winning these awards.”

“I am thrilled to join with my colleagues to announce the award of nearly $600,000 in federal funding that will help firefighters keep our communities safe,” said Congressman Cicilline. “These critical resources will ensure that our cities and towns can continue to provide the best resources and training for the first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. I will continue fighting in Washington to support programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants program so that local municipalities can have the federal funding they need to provide effective safety services for families across Rhode Island.”

“We have worked hard to restore and improve the quality of municipal services in Central Falls coming out of bankruptcy,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.  “The AFG and SAFER grants will go a long way towards supporting emergency services in the city and making our community a safer place to live. Central Falls has truly benefited from working hand-in-hand with a congressional delegation who has consistently delivered this type of support on behalf of our residents.”

“The Portsmouth Fire Department is very grateful to be awarded this AFG grant,” said Portsmouth Fire Chief Michael Cranson.  “The department will use this money to purchase seven new sets of firefighter turnout gear.  This gear will ensure that our firefighters have the best personal protection available and it will allow them to continue to provide our citizens with the highest quality service.” 

SAFER and AFG are competitive grant programs designed to aid fire departments and emergency medical service organizations in meeting their equipment, training, and other needs.  Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders have won over $26 million in AFG awards since 2001 and $14.5 million in SAFER awards since 2005.

-end-