Central Falls, Exeter, and Woonsocket win federal grants for new pumper and ladder
trucks to enhance public safety

CENTRAL FALLS, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and
Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $1,601,344 in federal funding
to help fire departments in Central Falls, Exeter, and Woonsocket purchase new,
state-of-the-art trucks and firefighting equipment. The new trucks will provide
these communities with enhanced emergency response capabilities, vehicle safety
advancements, and financial savings.

The funding is made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s
(FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG).

The Central Falls Fire Department is being awarded $476,191 to help replace their
current 1988 Pumper Fire Apparatus, which is no longer operational and faces repair
costs estimated above the value of the truck. Significant safety advances in fire
trucks have been made over the last 28 years and the new pumper truck will fill the
need for a reliable and safe apparatus to effectively respond to emergency
situations. The modem pumper truck will provide firefighters with enhanced safety as
they extinguish fires more efficiently and reduce the loss of critical
infrastructure.

The Exeter Fire Department No. 1, a volunteer fire department that provides
emergency services to the eastern half of Exeter, will receive a $443,334 AFG award
to purchase a new pumper engine. The new truck will have increased pumping
capacity and other enhanced safety features to help Exeter #1 improve their
emergency response and firefighting capabilities.

The Woonsocket Fire Department is being awarded $681,819 to purchase a new aerial
ladder truck to augment an aging fleet. The new truck will feature a 100-foot
ladder and a “pre-piped waterway,” which will help firefighters save valuable time
during an emergency by connecting right from the hydrant to the rear of the truck,
allowing them to quickly shoot water to the top of the ladder instead of completing
a series of connections typically required by older models of trucks. This
apparatus will have an immediate and significant impact on the operations of the
Department and contribute to the safety of both firefighters and residents. This
new vehicle will also have a regional impact, allowing the Woonsocket Fire
Department to better support surrounding town fire departments when responding to
mutual aid emergencies.

In 2014, the Woonsocket Fire Department received $271,292 in federal AFG funding for
the construction of new fire alarms systems in four fire stations and to purchase
personal escape systems — which allow firefighters trapped in life-threatening
situations to quickly repel out a window to safety.

“This is terrific news for the community. When responding to an emergency, every
second counts and these new trucks will help our firefighters save lives and safely
respond to fires, rescues, and other emergencies,” said Senator Jack Reed, a member
of the Appropriations Committee, who leads an annual fire grant workshop to help
fire departments across the state apply for competitive federal assistance. “I
commend Woonsocket, Exeter, and Central Falls for successfully applying for these
competitive grants. Older fire trucks can be challenging and costly to maintain and
these federal funds should help expedite the replacement process. I’ll continue
working at the federal level to support our firefighters and ensure they have the
equipment they need to get the job done.”

“With competing demands on local budgets, it can be a challenge for cities and towns
to make big investments in the equipment firefighters need to do their jobs safely
and efficiently,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Trucks are among the most
expensive and important tools firefighters use to keep our communities safe. With
these federal funds, the Woonsocket, Central Falls, and Exeter fire departments will
be able to make major upgrades to their truck fleets.”

“Pumper and ladder trucks are among the most important, and most costly, pieces of
equipment that our fire departments need to effectively serve our communities.
Congratulations to the Exeter, Central Falls, and Woonsocket Fire Departments for
successfully pursuing federal funds to offset these significant costs and to improve
public safety in Rhode Island,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

“I’m delighted that these three communities are receiving state-of-the-art fire
trucks through FEMA,” said Congressman David Cicilline, who advocated on behalf of
the City of Woonsocket’s request. “This will help ensure our brave first responders
can do their jobs as effectively and safely as possible. It will make a real
difference in our communities and in keeping Rhode Islanders safe. This is exactly
how government should work for the people it serves.”

“One of my top priorities when I became mayor was to invest in public services,”
said Central Falls MayorJames A. Diossa. “I am extremely pleased that our fire
department will be receiving the funds necessary to replace our aging pumper. With
the new apparatus, we can rest assured that our fire department will better serve
our residents and maintain the safety of Central Falls as its top priority. I thank
Senator Jack Reed and our congressional delegation for their leadership on securing
these funds.”

“It is critical that the brave men and women of the Woonsocket Fire Department are
equipped with the best equipment possible to serve and protect members of our
community,” said Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt. “With the help of Rhode
Island’s hard working federal delegation, Woonsocket will be better equipped to
respond to emergency situations in the City and region. The funding secured by
Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and Congressman Cicilline
represents a tremendous investment in public safety in our community and I would
like to thank them for their continued advocacy on behalf of the City of
Woonsocket.”

Last year, Congress appropriated $306 million in competitive, federal AFG grants to
help fire departments and non-affiliated EMS organizations nationwide.

AFG is a competitive grant program designed to aid fire departments and emergency
medical service organizations in meeting their equipment, training, and other needs.
Since Congress established the program in 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and
other first responders have won nearly $28 million in AFG awards.