CENTRAL FALLS, RI - Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $106,668 in federal funding to help the Central Falls Fire Department, Kingston Fire Department, and Albion Fire District purchase needed equipment and gear to help them better serve their communities. The funding is being awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
The Central Falls Fire Department will use $59,048 to purchase a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) washer/extractor dryer, which the department currently lacks. The equipment will help the department ensure both efficient cleaning of essential gear and the swift and effective returning of gear to service. The department will also use the funds to replace its aging self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air compressor refill system.
The Kington Fire Department will receive $34,286 to help purchase gear for firefighters currently sharing or wearing spare sets of uniforms, air masks, hoods, gloves, and other items. The Department is seeking the new items as a result of increased recruitment and retention success among its ranks, many of whom are students at the University of Rhode Island.
The Albion Fire District in Lincoln will receive $13,334 for a protective gear washing machine to deep-clean gear and protect firefighters from hazardous carcinogens, chemicals, biological agents, and particulate matter.
“These federal funds will support our firefighters and improve public safety. I was pleased to work closely with fire departments and local leaders in Central Falls, Kingston, and Albion to help deliver these funds,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees FEMA funding and helped include $350 million in competitive AFG funding for first responder organizations across the country in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations law. “I will continue doing everything I can at the federal level to help our firefighters protect our communities and improve emergency response capabilities.”
"I congratulate the fire departments in Central Falls, Lincoln, and South Kingstown that won federal grants to purchase new equipment," said Senator Whitehouse. "Firefighters deserve the very best tools available to carry out the job of keeping the people of Rhode Island safe."
“It is imperative that we provide the most up-to-date equipment necessary to keep our firefighters safe as they respond to emergency calls throughout our communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the AFG program. “I congratulate each of the departments for winning these highly-competitive federal grants, which will help protect the health and safety of our brave first responders.”
“This critical funding will provide incredibly valuable resources for our first responders,” said Congressman Cicilline, who worked directly with Central Falls and Lincoln to secure this new funding. “Our first responders should always have access to the best equipment available so they can do their jobs safely and effectively.”
The support offered to the Central Falls Fire Department by Senator Reed and the other members of our Congressional Delegation is invaluable,” said Chief Robert Bradley of the Central Falls Fire Department. “The process for the Assistance to Fire Fighter Grants has become more and more competitive each year and the support and guidance received has made an immeasurable difference. Their expertise has shone through and has become increasingly evident as “Lil Rhody” continues being awarded their grant requests.”
“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Reed and Congressman Langevin for their ongoing support of the Fire Service,” said Chief Nathan Barrington of the Kingston Fire Department. “The grant provided will dovetail nicely with the Safer Grant we received for recruitment and retention. Recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters is a critical need. As evidenced by the unfortunate fire in Richmond this past Sunday the role of the volunteer fire departments is critical. The large bulk of the responding departments were volunteer. Kingston Fire provided over 250 volunteer man hours combating this blaze and we were just one example of the over 20 departments that responded.”
“This new washer and dryer system is a welcome addition for our department that will help protect our firefighters from toxic and dangerous carcinogens and cancer-causing agents,” said Chief Richard Andrews of the Albion Fire District. “We’re grateful to receive these funds and we look forward to continuing our work in the community while taking the necessary precautions to perform our job safely and effectively.”
Since 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured over $36 million in AFG awards to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.