The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $5 million in grant funding awarded to 306 Massachusetts fire departments from the FY22 Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program – New Bedford will receive $49,994.60. This program enables fire departments to purchase a variety of equipment that will make firefighters’ jobs safer. This is the second year that funding has been awarded for this purpose as part of a $25 million bond bill filed by the Baker-Polito Administration to support firefighter safety and health in the coming years.
“Our communities and families depend on firefighters in difficult and dangerous moments,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This program is an opportunity to show our deep appreciation for their work by ensuring they have the tools they need to stay safe and healthy.”
“While the last two years have been so difficult for all of us, firefighters and first responders throughout the Commonwealth have courageously continued to serve the public,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are grateful for their efforts and proud to be able to provide them with critical equipment and support.”
Fire departments in Massachusetts were able to apply to this program for 118 different types of eligible equipment, including personal protective clothing, gear washers and dryers, thermal imaging cameras, assorted hand tools and extrication equipment, communications resources, hazardous gas meters, fitness equipment, and more. In many cases, the purchase of this equipment will help departments attain compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration or National Fire Protection Association safety standards.
“The toll that occupational cancer has taken on the fire service is unfortunately immense,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy. “We often see and hear about heroic rescues in the face of obvious and overwhelming danger, but the risks firefighters face go well beyond those events. I am thrilled that we can provide so many fire departments with this funding for equipment that will reduce firefighters’ long-term exposure to the cancer-causing materials they encounter every day at work.”
“While many of our firefighters dedicate their entire careers to the fire service, countless others who have full-time jobs in different fields spend their spare time responding to emergencies for on-call and volunteer fire departments across the state,” said Undersecretary of Homeland Security Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe. “They all deserve the best equipment we can get them, and we are so grateful for everything that they do.”
“Best practices for firefighter safety are constantly evolving as technology advances and our understanding of the short- and long-term health impacts of the work improves,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “This program is so important to help fire departments modernize their equipment and get firefighters the protection they need. The long-term health outcomes realized from these grant awards will have a truly immeasurable benefit.”
“The job of the modern firefighter takes countless forms. At any given moment, they could be asked to respond to a fire, a hazardous materials leak, a car accident, or a medical call. Equipping them for safety in each of these situations is a significant financial burden for every department,” said Centerville-Osterville-Marston Mills Fire Chief Michael Winn, President of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts. “We are so thankful that funding was made available to help with this challenge, especially at a time when so many departments are facing budget issues due to COVID-19.”
A complete list of the awards by department can be found here.
A summary of some of the most frequently funded items through this program can be found below: