WOONSOCKET, RI – In an effort to bolster firefighter response capabilities and keep the community of Woonsocket safe, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline today joined Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt in announcing $1,535,130 in federal funding to help the Woonsocket Fire Department recruit, hire, train and retain additional firefighters. The funding was awarded from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. It will be used to help fund the hiring of 12 firefighter positions and to ensure that the Department is compliant with National Fire Protection Association regulations.
With the additional firefighters supported under this grant, the Woonsocket Fire Department will be able to field three-man ladder companies, and its ladder trucks will be operable from the moment they arrive on scene, expediting the time it takes to set up ground ladders, vent the building appropriately, and search burning buildings for victims.
“Woonsocket greatly appreciates the delegation’s continued support of our first responders. Funding these additional positions ensures adequate coverage for emergencies in our City,” said Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
“This is great news for the Woonsocket Fire Department and the community it serves,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who helped make $345 million available for SAFER hiring grants in the latest Omnibus Appropriations law and supported the Department’s application. “It’s often a struggle for cash-strapped communities to find the resources to fully staff and equip their fire departments. The SAFER grant Woonsocket is receiving will go a long way toward improving response times and enhancing the safety of the public and the City’s firefighters. This is a highly competitive program, and I want to congratulate Mayor Baldelli-Hunt, Chief Shatraw, and the entire department for their hard work on this application and their service to the community.”
“The most important assets any fire department has are the dedicated men and women who work every day to protect their communities,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Congratulations to Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and Chief Shatraw on receiving this competitive award that will allow the Woonsocket Fire Department to add a dozen new firefighters to its ranks.”
“Woonsocket’s Fire Department does an outstanding job keeping the city’s residents safe, and I want to congratulate Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and Chief Shatraw on this grant. This $1.5 million award allows the Department to continue to meet the demands of the people of Woonsocket,” said Congressman Cicilline, who advocated directly to FEMA on behalf of this grant application. “Our firefighters and first responders all deserve our sincere gratitude for the dangerous work they do. I am committed to bringing back as many federal dollars as we can to support local first responders.”
With these competitive federal grants, Rhode Island has now received over $8.5 million in federal fire grant safety funding this year to help eleven fire departments throughout the state. Since 2002, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders have won over $36 million in federal SAFER awards.