CUMBERLAND, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline announced a total of $515,034 in federal funding to help three Rhode Island Fire and Rescue Departments purchase life-saving equipment and upgrade their communications and protective gear.
Three local fire departments in Cumberland, Lime Rock, and Pawtucket have been awarded federal grants for new equipment that will help them save more lives through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
Cumberland Rescue Service will receive $196,477 to upgrade its communication system and purchase needed power lift stretchers that will increase patient and EMT safety and enhance emergency response capabilities. It will also purchase new mobile radios and portable radios to replace old models that have become obsolete.
The Lime Rock Fire Department is being awarded $18,762 to bring on a new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Washer/Extractor and Dryer System to support the maintenance of firefighters’ protective gear.
The Pawtucket Fire Department will receive $299,795 to purchase and install three extractors and dryers to decontaminate and dry personal protective gear, reducing contamination and improving health and safety for firefighters. It will also purchase additional firefighter protective gear and 28 portable radios to replace outdated radios that are no longer under manufacture warranties and are expensive to repair. Lastly, the funds will allow the installation of fire alarm systems in three stations.
“I am pleased to help deliver federal funds for this new equipment to enhance public safety. These funds will help better equip and protect firefighters who bravely serve our communities,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who sent letters to FEMA in support of the applications.
“Congratulations to the three fire departments that won federal grants to purchase new gear,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Our firefighters put their lives on the line to keep Rhode Islanders safe and they deserve the very best tools to carry out their jobs safely.”
“This critical funding will help ensure that firefighters in Cumberland, Lime Rock, and Pawtucket can do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Congressman Cicilline. “The brave men and women who work as first responders in Rhode Island should always have access to the best resources available, and I’ll continue working to make sure that’s always the case.”
“This will allow us to modernize our department’s communications infrastructure and the stretcher Powerload systems will reduce the risk of personnel sustaining a back injury,” said John Pliakas, MSN, NP, NRP, TP-C, Director and Deputy Medical Director of Cumberland Rescue Service.
“This advanced cleaning system will help us protect the health of our firefighters and ensure their gear is free of contaminants from the hazards they face every day. We’re pleased to receive this federal grant and appreciate the support of Senator Reed and our entire federal delegation. This new equipment will allow us to operate more efficiently and keep our focus on safety,” said Limerock Fire Department Fire Chief Timothy Walsh.
“The City of Pawtucket is thankful for receiving an AFG. The funding will go a long way in the protection of our firefighters and the citizens of Pawtucket. We are thankful for the support and dedication to public safety of Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressmen Cicilline and Langevin,” said Chief William Sisson of the Pawtucket Fire Department.
The competitive AFG program is part of a larger, coordinated effort by the federal government to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fires and related hazards.
Since 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured over $35 million in AFG awards to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.