Washington, DC – In an effort to enhance Rhode Island's emergency response preparedness, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Jim Langevin today announced that The Union Fire District of South Kingstown will receive $70,875 in federal funds to purchase new equipment. The funds, awarded as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, will be used to buy fifteen new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.
“This new breathing equipment will help ensure the safety of our firefighters as they protect our homes and communities. This grant will provide our firefighters with the equipment they need to effectively do their jobs and help ease the strain on local budgets,” said Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee which allocates funding to programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grants.
“Our firefighters are the invaluable first line of protection for our lives and our property, but strained state and local budgets have left many of our firehouses pressed for resources,” said Whitehouse. “These grants will provide much-needed equipment upgrades for the South Kingstown Fire Department, giving them the tools they need to effectively respond to emergencies.”
“These funds come at a critical time for our first responders, with state and local resources stretched thin. Enabling the South Kingstown Fire Department to acquire the most up-to-date equipment offers peace of mind not only to the firefighters who use it, but the citizens they serve,” said Langevin.
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program has allowed the Union Fire District to provide for a much needed upgrade with fifteen new air packs that will replace older models that no longer meet an acceptable safety standard,” said South Kingstown Town Manager Stephen A. Alfred. “The funds made available through this program are critical to the department's efforts to ensure the highest safety standards possible in protecting our local District firefighters.”
Alfred continued, “The Union Fire District of South Kingstown is a volunteer force consisting of eight fire stations and approximately 130 volunteer members, with a command structure led by Chief Robert Perry and four Deputy Chiefs. This successful grant application was compiled through the efforts of Deputy Chief Kevin Quinn and Lieutenant David Sloan with special thanks to Deputy Chiefs Carney and Collinson.”
South Kingstown was selected through a competitive peer review process based on the need to enhance response capabilities and protect communities from fire-related hazards.