2006-11-22 / Front Page

Fire department gets $71,000 federal grant

By Sam Bari

In an effort to help improve Jamestown's emergency response capabilities, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has announced that the Department of Homeland Security is awarding the Jamestown Fire Department $71,255 in federal funds for training, equipment, and modifications to its fire station and facilities.

The federal funding comes from the fiscal year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which Reed supported.

"This grant is evidence of the tremendous work that the Jamestown Fire Department is doing to serve the community. This money will help them continue their im- portant work protecting the Jamestown community," said Reed. "Our firefighters do an outstanding job protecting our communities, and the federal government should do its part to make sure they have all the protective gear and equipment they need to do their job."

"We're really glad to get this funding," said Fire Chief Jim Bryer. "We have some money in our capital fund to augment the $71,255 so we can finally install an exhaust system in the firehouse. It's something we've needed for years. Every time we start the trucks, the men breathe diesel exhaust fumes."

Bryer also said they needed to upgrade some things in the firehouse, like the electrical system, to make sure that everything is up to code. In addition, he said that the firefighters were having a meeting to select the best companies to do the work. Then the job would go out for bid. Depending on the schedule of the company awarded the contract, the system could be in place as early as next spring. However, Bryer said that as much as they would like to see it happen, next spring might be optimistic.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in their communities. This program supports local departments by providing them with the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel. This award will be used to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, fund firefighter health and safety programs, acquire new firefighting equipment, enhance EMS programs, and conduct fire prevention and safety programs.

In February, Reed hosted his annual workshop to assist Rhode Island fire departments that are interested in applying for the grants. Last year, over $1.7 million was awarded to local fire departments across the state.

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