In an effort to prevent household fires and help local fire departments upgrade equipment and train firefighters, Rhode Island's Congressional delegation today announced $654,160 in federal fire safety grants. These competitive grants programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
To help firefighters protect our communities a total of $352,646 in competitive federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) were awarded to the Hope Valley/Wyoming, North Scituate, and Portsmouth fire departments. Hope Valley/Wyoming received $206,150 to purchase 35 new firefighter breathing apparatus. Portsmouth received $74,685 to purchase a new firefighting hose and an air refill system. North Scituate received $71,811 to help purchase 21 sets of firefighter protective turnout gear, 20 sets of Emergency Medical Services turnout gear, and firefighter training.
The Providence Housing Authority received a $301,514 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant, an initiative of FEMA's AFG program, for fire prevention efforts. FP&S funds are designed to reach high-risk target groups and mitigate incidences of deaths and injuries caused by fire and fire-related hazards. The Providence Housing Authority will use the funding to install the Safe T Element device, which helps prevent cooking fires before they start, in 721 housing units at Hartford Park Tower; Dexter Manor; Dominica Manor; and Kilmartin Plaza. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, stovetops are the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.
"This is a smart investment in fire prevention and public safety. These federal awards will help protect families and ensure our firefighters have the equipment they need to stay safe and save lives. I salute the fire safety officials who worked hard to win these competitive grants and will continue working at the federal level to support our firefighters and first responders," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who earlier this year helped provide an additional $33 million for fire grants to state and local governments in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013.
"Every day, Rhode Island firefighters work to keep our families out of harm's way. These federal AFG awards will provide our firefighters with the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively, and will help towns take important preventative measures to ensure residents' safety," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who wrote letters to FEMA in support of the Portsmouth and North Scituate awards. "I congratulate these Rhode Island communities on winning these grants."
"Our first responders have made an extraordinary commitment to serving their communities, and we owe them not just our gratitude but also the tangible support they need to carry out their missions. These federal funds will provide critical resources to those who put their own safety at risk to serve their communities, while improving the safety of many homes," said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin.
"Like all Rhode Islanders, I am grateful for the brave men and women who serve as firefighters in their local communities," said U.S. Representative David Cicilline, who authored a letter of support for Portsmouth's grant application. "I am proud that these much-needed federal resources will help first responders keep their cities and towns safe all across Rhode Island."
More information may be found at: http://www.fema.gov/firegrants