Three fire departments in Rhode Island have been awarded new federal grants to hire additional firefighters, acquire updated communications equipment, and increase public safety in the latest round of funding made available through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs.
Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Congressmen David Cicilline, and Seth Magaziner announced $4,567,585.84 in new federal funding for three local fire departments across Rhode Island.
- Cranston: Over $3.6 million in SAFER funding is heading to the Cranston Fire Department for the hiring of 12 firefighters, bringing the department back to full staffing levels, enhancing its ability to respond to fires and emergencies within the community, and freeing up additional capital and resources for the department and city.
- Cumberland: Over $547,000 through the AFG program to purchase new mobile radios, mobile repeaters, and portable radios that help firefighters clearly understand each other.
- Narragansett: Over $350,000 through the AFG program to help Narragansett first responders upgrade their communication systems, enhancing reliability during emergency response operations.
“Rhode Island’s firefighters selflessly serve every day to save lives, deliver critical services, and protect our communities. We need to have their backs and ensure they have the tools they need to be effective. These federal funds will help ensure our fire departments are properly staffed and well-equipped with state-of-the-art communication systems and technology,” said Senator Reed.
“Firefighters play an essential role in keeping communities across our state safe,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This funding will help ensure firefighters on the frontlines have the tools and manpower to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
“Rhode Island’s firefighters put their lives on the line every day for our communities and it’s on to us to provide the tools and resources they need to stay safe,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This is just the latest round of federal funding made available through key programs that keep our departments operating at their best, including through state-of-the-art equipment. These programs save lives, and I will continue to fight to ensure that they are fully funded.”
“Firefighters in Rhode Island put their lives on the line every single day to protect our communities from fires and other threats,” said Congressman Magaziner. “This crucial federal funding will be used to help keep our brave firefighters in Cranston, Cumberland, and Narragansett safe during the course of their duties.”
“I am grateful to the members of our congressional delegation for their continued support in obtaining this significant grant for the City of Cranston,” said Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins. “This funding will bring our fire department to full staffing levels, while alleviating workforce demands and reducing costly overtime. The city will begin recruiting our 12 new firefighters as soon as possible to ensure that our high-standards of public safety in serving our residents.”
“The new communications equipment that this AFG award will help Cumberland purchase will enhance interoperability within the department as well as with bordering communities,” said Cumberland Fire Chief Nicholas Anderson. “Clear and reliable communication is of utmost importance to protecting both our citizens and our firefighters.”
“The Narragansett Fire Department is very appreciative to be a recipient of this federal funding. This AFG award will provide funding necessary for the purchase of new radios, repeaters and extenders, which will dramatically enhance the reliability of our communications during all emergency response operations. Communications is one of a select few critical parts of firefighter safety and survival,” said Narragansett Fire Chief Scott Partington. “We would like to thank Senator Reed and the rest of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation for their relentless support for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Grant programs like 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.”
Congress provided a total of $720 million for the AFG and SAFER programs in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill. Since FY 2001, the AFG program has awarded approximately $7.7 billion in grants to provide critically needed resources that equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operation efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.