Firefighters Drexel Estate Fire Newport RI

RI Fire Departments Awarded $1.77M to Upgrade Equipment & Boost Safety

Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner announced $1,769,769 in new federal funding for the City of Pawtucket and Burrillville’s four Fire Districts.

The federal awards through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program will support the purchasing of new radio communication systems that will improve emergency response and bolster safety of local firefighters responding to scenes of emergencies across numerous communities.

The City of Pawtucket will receive $813,795 to upgrade Pawtucket Fire Department’s (PFD) communication capabilities and integrate new mobile and portable systems into the digital communications environment. These upgrades will ensure that local firefighters are able to effectively communicate while responding to emergencies and will enhance PFD’s ability to respond in neighboring communities. The number of calls fielded by PFD each year has increased by thirty-one percent since 2012 and mutual aid operations currently account for approximately one tenth of PFD’s dispatches. Currently, Pawtucket’s communications system is incompatible with the Rhode Island Statewide Communications Network (RISCON). Upgrades made possible by this federal grant will bring the Department into compliance with state and national standards and will immediately improve daily operations of PFD.

The Oakland-Mapleville Fire District will receive $955,974 as part of a regional initiative with Burrillville’s Pascoag, Harrisville, and Nasonville Fire Districts to replace outdated communications equipment. These funds will be used to purchase state-of-the-art systems for each of Burrillville’s fire apparatus and a new multi-band portable radio for every firefighter. Upgraded equipment for the town’s four fire districts will significantly improve ability to respond to emergencies and will enhance safety of firefighters by ensuring they can effectively communicate with one another on scene. This grant will also ensure that the fire districts are in compliance with RISCON and national standards and will allow for more effective collaboration when responding to mutual aid calls.

“Ensuring that our local firefighters are able to communicate with each other while responding to emergencies is an absolutely essential part of keeping them healthy and safe,” said Senator Reed. “I am pleased to help deliver more than $1.7 million in federal funds for Pawtucket and Burrillville to ensure our firefighters have the state-of-the-art tools they need to stay safe while protecting and serving our neighborhoods.”

“Members of our local fire departments serve on the frontlines each day and keep their communities safe,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I am pleased to help secure this federal funding to modernize critical communications infrastructure in Pawtucket and Burrillville to ensure our first responders can do their jobs safely and effectively.”

“In an emergency, a few seconds could mean the difference between life or death, and we must do everything we can to equip RI firefighters with the tools they need to respond to emergencies quickly,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “This federal funding for fire departments in Pawtucket and Burrillville will help improve response times and emergency readiness to keep communities safe.”

This $1.77 million in federal funding for Rhode Island’s firefighters comes after two announcements earlier this month of $728,000 and nearly $1.4 million in AFG grants for Lincoln, Narragansett, Woonsocket, Cranston, Newport, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, and the Rhode Island Fire Academy.




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