Providence Fire Dept. receives $1M to replace aging engine

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island’s federal delegation has secured $3,884,710 in federal funds that will go to 17 different fire departments across the state.

The recipients can use the federal funds to purchase vital equipment, including fire hoses, trucks, high-tech breathing equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The federal funds are made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

Providence Fire Department is set to receive $1.2M of the funds. About $900,000 will be spent to replace Engine 5, which is 26-years-old. Another $200,000 will help the department secure reusable N95 masks, as well as purchase eight electrostatic sprayers and disinfecting lamps to clean apparatuses.

The President of the Providence Firefighters Union, Derek Silva, has been pushing for the department to get new equipment for years.

“It’s essentially an age issue. Most of our engines, ladders, even rescue units, are getting towards the end of their life expectancy,” said Silva.

In February, a wheel came off a fire truck that was returning from a call. In December 2019, two truck engines caught fire, according to Silva.

He said fire trucks usually last 10-15 years, but many of Providence’s trucks are 20-25 years old.

“There are about 12 frontline engine units in the city of Providence. I’d venture that half of them are at that 20-25 year mark,” said Silva.

He welcomes the federal grant, plus an additional $6M the city recently promised to spend on the department. Silva said all together, the funds should help get the department back on track.

“It’s actually years in the making,” said Silva.

He said a majority of the aging trucks should be replaced by this time next year.

“Our firefighters put their lives on the line to keep us safe. This federal funding will help provide the tools they need to protect themselves and all Rhode Islanders. Congratulations to the departments for winning these grants,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

“Rhode Island firefighters on the front lines of the pandemic are facing daunting challenges and it is more important than ever that departments are equipped with the proper tools to save lives,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.  “These federal funds will go a long way to making sure our heroes have equipment that keeps them safe when responding to emergencies.”

The following cities and town fire departments will receive the federal fire grants:

CENTRAL FALLS: $209,809.52 for firefighter breathing apparatus.

CRANSTON: $97,272.73 for protective gear washers and protective gear dryers.

CUMBERLAND: $205,617.00 for fire hose, nozzles, and firefighter training.

EAST GREENWICH: $274,885.10 for operations and safety.

EAST PROVIDENCE: $691,336.36 for mobile radios and firefighter breathing apparatus.

FOSTER (MOOSUP VALLEY FIRE DISTRICT): $3,325.71 for operations and safety through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental program (AFG-S) which may be used to purchase PPE.

NARRAGANSETT: $106,666.67 for firefighter breathing apparatus.

NORTH KINGSTOWN: $208,546.91 for protective gear washers and protective gear dryers.

NORTH PROVIDENCE: $390,600.00 for mobile radios, portable radios and mobile repeaters.

PROVIDENCE: $921,363.64 for vehicle acquisition and $202,566.36 for operations and safety through AFG-S.  This brings Providence’s total AFG awards for this round of funding to $1,123,930 total.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, UNION FIRE DISTRICT: $2,695.69 for operations and safety through AFG-S which may be used to purchase PPE.

SMITHFIELD: $85,779.68 for cardiac monitors and a $45,454.55 regional grant award for 11 fire departments for a training simulator prop.

WARWICK: $112,369.09 for operations and safety through AFG-S which may be used to purchase PPE.

WESTERN COVENTRY FIRE DISTRICT: $17,142.86 for firefighter training and fire hose.

WEST GREENWICH (LAKE MISHNOCK VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY): $11,214.29 for firefighter training

WEST WARWICK: $71,141.82 for an air compressor – air refill system.

WOONSOCKET: $226,922.73 for chest compression devices and fire officer training.

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