July 25, 2011

Reed, Whitehouse, Langevin Announce $629,452 for Coventry Fire District

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) today announced the Central Coventry Fire District will receive $629,452 in federal funding to help fill vacancies in the ranks.

This direct federal assistance, provided through the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, will help the fire district increase staffing of frontline firefighters, that had been somewhat under- staffed due to unfilled vacancies by attrition and remained unfilled due to economic conditions.

The Central Coventry Fire District will use this award to hire five new firefighters.

“Our firefighters do outstanding work. Fire departments have been hit hard by tough economic times and budget cuts, and we need to ensure they are adequately staffed and equipped to respond to emergencies. This federal funding will help Central Coventry Fire District hire more firefighters and improve their emergency response capabilities,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who helped secure SAFER grant funding in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

“In these tough economic times this much-needed federal assistance to the Central Coventry Fire District will provide them with the tools to respond to emergencies and keep our families and neighborhoods safe,” said Whitehouse.

“Rhode Island’s fire departments are under increasing duress because of the strain on local budgets, but the number of emergencies in our neighborhoods does not decline because of a struggling economy,” said Langevin. ”We all rely on men and women who dedicate themselves to serving their communities to keep us safe, and the least we can do is to give them the resources to carry out their mission. I will continue to support the investments by SAFER grants that do just that.”

“With less tax dollars coming in, the last 18 months have proven to be very difficult to fund fire department operations. With the award of the SAFER Grant, we can assure the public that adequate staffing will be available to meet their fire and emergency medical needs. We are grateful for this federal funding as it will not only provide us with the resources to hire new staff and support this critical resource, but will lessen the burden on the local community during these hard economic times,” said Chief Robert Seltzer, Chief of Department for the Central Coventry Fire District.

The hiring of additional firefighters will help protect thousands of citizens and provide more consistent fire protection and emergency medical care. An increase in firefighters will support operational needs, providing adequate staffing to operate safely and effectively, and ensure timely emergency response capabilities.

SAFER funding is a competitive grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921