RI Delegation Announces Over $4.2M in Fire Grants for New Training, Equipment & Recruitment

Sep 20, 2019 Issues: Rhode Island

WARWICK, RI – In an effort to enhance fire protection and emergency response capabilities across the state, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced a total of $4,216,959 in federal funding to help a dozen fire departments across the state purchase new equipment and recruit new firefighters.

Fire departments in Warwick, East Providence, Woonsocket, Middletown, Harmony (Chepachet), Little Compton, Coventry, North Scituate, and Saylesville (Lincoln), along with the Rhode Island Fire Academy in Exeter, the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Association, and the Union Fire District in South Kingstown have all been awarded federal fire grants by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program helps fire departments purchase equipment and emergency vehicles and provides training and other firefighting and fire prevention activities.  The Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program helps fire departments comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 

AFG grants awarded to local fire departments in this round of funding include:

  • The Warwick Fire Department will use $1,123,294 to purchase a firefighting hose and nozzles as well as provide fire officer, fire instructor, and safety officer training.
  • The East Providence Fire Department will use $807,220 to purchase 74 portable radios, 3 mobile radios, 3 accountability systems, 10 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and 13 cardiac monitors.
  • The Woonsocket Fire Department will use $296,364 to purchase 50 portable radios, four protective gear washers, and four protective gear dryers.
  • The Middletown Fire Department will use $146,667 to purchase 22 firefighter breathing apparatuses.
  • The Harmony Fire Department will use $122,081 to purchase 18 firefighter breathing apparatus and seven face pieces.
  • The Little Compton Fire Department will use $97,429 to purchase 14 firefighter breathing apparatuses and for training on how to use them effectively.
  • The Coventry Fire Department will use $74,667 to purchase a diesel fume source capture exhaust system.
  • The North Scituate Fire Department will use $38,095 to purchase a new power lift system. 
  • The Saylesville Fire Department will use $29,524 to purchase firefighting nozzles and two thermal imaging cameras.
  • The Rhode Island Fire Academy will receive $216,782 in federal funding to help the Academy purchase equipment for Technical Rescue Team (TRT) and Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) training programs.  Technical Rescue Teams are responsible for responding to complex rescue incidents, such as building collapses, trench rescues, or rope rescues, while Rapid Intervention Teams are assembled for the purpose of searching for and rescuing other firefighters in distress.  The grant funding will allow the Academy to purchase needed equipment for the programs, including gear for rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, and vehicle extraction, as well as funding for training and two tow vehicles to transport this equipment throughout the state.  In addition, the Academy will purchase nozzles and firehose for general training use, and additional live fire-training props and resources. 

Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Association and the Union Fire District will receive SAFER grants of $822,698 and $442,140, respectively, to fund volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention programs.

“These funds will help guarantee that local fire departments are fully staffed and that firefighters have the best gear, safety equipment, and training available.  I am grateful to our first responders and will continue working to ensure that Congress provides this important funding,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees FEMA funding who leads annual workshops to help Rhode Island fire departments compete for these federal funds. 

“The delegation helped secure these federal grants to allow fire departments across Rhode Island to invest in new tools, safety training, and volunteer firefighter recruitment,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Firefighters put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe, and it’s the least we can do to make sure they have the equipment and manpower to do their jobs.”

“This influx of grant funding will provide needed support to fire departments across Rhode Island,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA. “I will continue to do everything I can in Washington to secure federal resources for our local first responders. They put their lives on the line to keep us safe, and they deserve the best training and equipment available.”

“Rhode Island’s firefighters make our state proud every day with their dedicated service to others,” said Congressman Cicilline.  “This important federal investment will ensure that they have the tools and training they need to continue doing their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible.  I’m proud of the work that we do in Washington on behalf of our state’s firefighters to make sure they have access to these federal resources.”

"The City is grateful for this generous grant award, which will provide essential training and equipment to ensure the well-being of all who live and work in our community as well as the safety of our first responders, " said Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. "As host to T.F. Green Airport, it's also important that we have the resources necessary to respond quickly to any emergency, and this funding will enable us to continue to do that. I thank Senator Reed and our entire Congressional delegation for their ongoing support of our City and the Warwick Fire Department."   

“Support in the form of AFG grants helps to save lives,” said East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva. “The nearly $1 million in funding will go a long way in equipping our firefighters with the technology and life-saving equipment that will benefit the residents of East Providence for years to come.”

“We would like to thank Senator Reed and the entire Rhode Island delegation for their support,” said Rhode Island State Fire Marshal Timothy P. McLaughlin.  “This grant will help the Rhode Island Fire Academy enhance our training for all firefighters throughout the state of Rhode Island.  These funds are helpful, as we all know budgets can be tight and receiving an AFG grant will go a long way in providing the best training we can for all Rhode Island firefighters.”

To date, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured over $44 million in AFG awards since 2001 to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, and training and over $45 million since 2005 in SAFER awards to help departments hire new firefighters.