June 2, 2017

Woonsocket Wins Over $377,000 in Federal Fire Safety Grants

WOONSOCKET, RI — Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, along with Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, announced $377,055 in federal funding to help the Woonsocket Fire Department purchase needed safety equipment.  The funding is made available by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG).  The federal funds be used to replace 54 outdated self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), purchase new face pieces for each firefighter, along with two SCBA Pack Trackers Personal Accountability systems and two Rapid Intervention Packs, and a new cascade system. Obtaining this new, state-of-the-art gear will address a critical equipment need for the Woonsocket Fire Department as their current equipment is outdated and in need of replacement.  This grant funding will allow the Department to increase firefighter safety as well as provide better response to emergency situations in the community they serve.

“SCBA units are critical to firefighter safety during emergency response missions.  These federal funds will enhance public safety in Woonsocket and surrounding communities by ensuring our firefighters have the most up-to-date equipment and rescue gear possible,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, who helped make $345 million available for Fire Grants and SAFER (hiring grants) in the latest Omnibus Appropriations law, and who wrote a letter of support for Woonsocket’s successful application. “ I am thankful for the outstanding work our firefighters do each day, and I commend Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and her team for successfully competing for this federal grant.”

“These federal funds will help Woonsocket cover valuable equipment upgrades for its firefighters,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Our first responders put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect Rhode Islanders.  It is the least we can do to make sure firefighters have the tools to carry out their jobs safely and effectively.”

“With these AFG funds, the Woonsocket Fire Department will now be able to upgrade outdated equipment, especially the self-contained breathing apparatuses that are critical for the safety of our dedicated first responders,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA. “Federal support for firefighters helps better protect Rhode Islanders, and these equipment upgrades will serve the residents of Woonsocket and neighboring communities for years to come.”

“The Woonsocket Fire Department deserves the best, and this funding will ensure that it is equipped to serve the people of Woonsocket safely and effectively,” said Congressman Cicilline, who advocated directly to FEMA on behalf of this grant application.  “Investments in our firefighters help all Rhode Islanders sleep peacefully at night, and I am committed to advocating to guarantee that Rhode Island gets its fair share.”

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt stated: “Ensuring the safety of our residents through our fire and police departments is the most critical function of our local government. Equipping our firefighters with state-of-the-art tools is vital to public safety but is costly for communities like Woonsocket. The AFG grant funding secured by Senator Reed, Congressman Cicilline, Senator Whitehouse, and Congressman Langevin provides our City with the necessary resources to protect our residents. Woonsocket benefits from the strong leadership and advocacy of our federal delegation and the positive relationships we have forged with them.”

Since 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state successfully secure over $27.6 million in AFG awards to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921