NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Federal money is flowing to the Narragansett Fire Department, which has learned it is one of two in the state to receive a grant used to help fund needed training and equipment to firefighters.
Narragansett and the West Warwick Fire Department received money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
A total of $289,720 was awarded according to an announcement Friday by U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both D-R.I., and Congressman Jim Langevin, D-2nd District.
The Narragansett Fire Department will use its $70,333 grant to fund a new National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Fire Services Officer Training Program to help prepare a new generation of firefighters for leadership and senior officer positions within the department.
Fire Chief Scott Partington said the award will also provide money to buy advanced air monitoring equipment to detect hazardous gases encountered during fire suppression, overhaul and other potentially dangerous environments firefighters might encounter, such as within educational and medical laboratories or the confined cargo wells of fishing vessels berthed in the local port.
“The award will also provide for enhanced NFPA fire officer training for many of our firefighters to help educate and prepare them for future leadership roles,” Partington said. He thanked Reed and the rest of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation for supporting the Assistance to Firefighter Grant program.
“Grant programs like the AFG and SAFER augment local funding and provide much-needed assistance to help meet the expanding role the fire service continues to play in our communities,” he said.
The West Warwick Fire Department will use its $219,387 grant to fund training programs that will help provide officers with nationally-recognized professional certification training.
Reed commended both departments for their efforts to enhance public safety.
“I salute our firefighters and am pleased to help deliver these federal funds to help them do their jobs safely and efficiently,” Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees FEMA funding, said. He wrote letters to FEMA in support of Narragansett and West Warwick’s applications.
Langevin said he was proud to support both departments in their efforts to win the competitive grants, and congratulated them both.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, and they deserve access to the best training and equipment available,” Langevin said.
Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured more than $40 million in AFG awards since 2001 to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles and training.