West Warwick Gets $338K Federal Grant for New Fire Truck

Friday, July 21, 2017

WEST WARWICK, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $337,819 in federal funding to help the West Warwick Fire Department purchase a new fire truck to enhance the department’s existing fleet.  The competitive grant is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

The West Warwick Fire Department will use the funds to purchase a new pumper truck, which will replace an aging truck that is 45 years old, has become increasingly difficult to maintain, and lacks modern technology and safety features.  In addition to the new truck, the Department will use the funds to cover personnel costs for training the firefighters on a new program specifically targeted to the operation of the new vehicle.

The West Warwick Fire Department currently operates from four stations located throughout the town and employs 73 full time employees who man 4 engines, 1 ladder, 2 rescues, and 1 special hazards unit.  The new pumper truck will help provide the department with a powerful new resource to help firefighters respond to calls in a safer and more efficient manner.

“Our firefighters protect the homes, businesses and families of the people of Rhode Island, and this new vehicle will enable the West Warwick Fire Department to meet the needs of its community more safely and effectively,” said Congressman Cicilline. “We all owe our first responders our gratitude and respect, and it is my pleasure to congratulate the members of the West Warwick Fire Department on their efforts to secure this critical funding.”

“I am pleased to help deliver federal funds for this new, state-of-the-art emergency pumper truck,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, who wrote a letter to FEMA in support of the application and who annually hosts fire grant workshops to help fire departments apply for federal grants.  "Our firefighters do outstanding work.  It is essential that they have the best vehicles, equipment, and training possible to do their jobs safely and effectively.  I congratulate Chief Baris and the Town of West Warwick, and I will continue doing everything I can to provide the federal support they need.”

“The first responders who work every day to protect the public's safety should have the equipment they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “The West Warwick Fire Department will use this federal funding to purchase a new truck that will help firefighters safely carry out their duty to the residents of West Warwick.”

“It’s critical that our local fire departments have the resources necessary to obtain high quality and reliable equipment that ensures the safety of our first responders and the communities they serve,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the AFG program. “This AFG funding will enable the West Warwick Fire Department to replace an aging pumper truck, which will further enhance their ability to respond to fires and better protect the town’s residents.”

“I am pleased and excited to have received this Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) on behalf of the West Warwick Fire Department and the Town of West Warwick,” said West Warwick Fire Department Chief Joseph Baris.  “Most do not know how important this grant award is to the Town of West Warwick financially in our ongoing efforts to maintain a fleet of apparatus that are safe for our firefighters and which will allow us to provide the level of service our tax payers deserve.  It is not always easy to obtain federal grants such as this for the purchase of fire apparatus.  My staff and I continually research and apply for grants in an effort to help purchase needed equipment and, at the same time, help ease the burden on our taxpayers.  Having said this, I am very appreciative of the help of one particular firefighter from our department, Private Donald Johnson, who helps with research and the narrative building portion of the grant application process.  I also extend a big thank you to Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin and Congressman Cicilline, as well as all their staff members, for their continued support of our FEMA grant applications.”

With this competitive federal grant for West Warwick, Rhode Island has now received over $2.5 million in AFG funding this year to help nine fire departments throughout the state.  Since 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state have successfully secured over $35 million in AFG awards to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.


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