Rhode Island Fire Academy Wins $425,000 Federal Grant


Article is Courtesy of: www.reed.senate.gov

EXETER, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today joined with state fire and public safety officials in announcing $425,000 in federal funding to help upgrade training equipment at the Rhode Island Fire Academy.  Administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, the federal funds will help the state fire academy acquire a new fire engine, 18 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA), and hands tools, such as axes, hydra rams, and K-12 saws, which will support the practical educational component of the academy’s curriculum.

Located on property near the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Route 2, the Rhode Island Fire Academy is run through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.  The Academy provides firefighters with basic training and specialized courses ranging from arson detection to hazardous materials to rope rescue and more.

“This federal funding will help ensure the Rhode Island Fire Academy has the tools and equipment to fulfill their training needs.  It will offset the cost of a new truck and equipment to help make the training more effective and realistic and teach firefighters the latest techniques,” said Senator Reed, who leads an annual fire grant workshop to help fire departments across the state apply for competitive federal assistance.  “I appreciate the great work that Colonel O’Donnell, Fire Marshall Chartier, Fire Academy Director Pare, their teams, and all our firefighters do to keep our communities safe.  I will continue working hard to provide federal assistance to help staff and equip our fire departments throughout Rhode Island and ensure they have the state-of-the-art facilities and gear they need to be effective.”

“Rhode Island firefighters put their lives on the line to keep our communities and businesses safe,” said Senator Whitehouse. “It’s up to us to get them the training and equipment they need to do their job.  I’m glad to see Rhode Island firefighters will be better equipped, and I congratulate the Rhode Island Fire Academy on receiving this important funding.”

“The Rhode Island Fire Academy is the hub of fire service training and education for our firefighters, and this crucial funding will benefit every fire department across the state,” said Congressman Langevin.  “Rhode Island is fortunate to have some of the best public safety officials in the country, and this grant award will further support their efforts to keep our cities and towns safe.”

“Like all Rhode Islanders, I am grateful to our courageous first responders who  protect our local communities every day,” said Congressman Cicilline. “I am proud to support the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program and these federal funds will help the Rhode Island Fire Academy prepare brave men and women for a tough job that is critical to protecting property and saving lives.  I will continue to work to provide the resources our communities need to give our local first responders the training and equipment they require.”

“We are very appreciative of the Congressional delegation’s efforts to assist us and making it possible to apply for the original grant.  The fruit of this effort is being announced today.  The Fire Academy services over 2,700 students and this equipment will allow us to take our firefighter 1 & 2 program up to the national standards,” said Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the State Police and Commissioner of the State Department of Public Safety.

According to recent statistics from of the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs, Rhode Island has approximately 4,000 firefighters and roughly half of them are volunteers.

Last year, Congress appropriated $320.9 million for competitive, federal AFG grants to help fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations nationwide.  So far this year, Rhode Island has received $1.285 million in fiscal year 2013 AFG funds.

Nationwide, 10,700 applications were submitted for AFG funds, available to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations and state fire training academies. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants

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