July 09, 2015

Warren, Markey, Tsongas announce federal assistance for Fitchburg Fire Department

WASHINGTON, DC - Along with Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced today that the Fitchburg Fire Department has been awarded federal funding through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

Fitchburg Fire Department will receive $409,091.00 to be used to purchase a heavy rescue truck.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas said: "Fitchburg Fire Department received these needed federal funds through a competitive grant process, which speaks to both the quality of their application and the Department in general. Given the constraints on state and local budgets, competitive grant funds such as these help to maintain public safety in our communities and provide first responders with access to the resources they need to save lives. Our volunteer and career firefighters sacrifice a great deal to protect our communities and it is our duty to provide them with the equipment and training they need to keep their departments running safely and efficiently."

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said: "This grant is terrific news for Fitchburg. Chief Roy and the Fitchburg Fire Department did great work to secure this funding for a new truck. Our firefighters are out on the front lines each day working to keep our families safe, and it's up to us to make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively."

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said: "Our firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our communities, but even our hometown heroes need help. I commend Mayor Lisa Wong and the Fitchburg Fire Department for securing these important federal funds for a new heavy rescue truck that will put the best possible equipment in the hands of our brave first responders."

Fitchburg Fire Chief Kevin Roy said the new truck will be located at Fitchburg Fire Department headquarters at 33 North Street, and that a group of firefighters write the grant proposals.

"We don't have grants writers. We write these proposals ourselves and I am proud of our team," said Chief Roy. "The City of Fitchburg has never owned a heavy rescue truck. This will be a great addition to our fleet and the city could not have funded this purchase. We very much appreciate that Congresswoman Tsongas and our Senators have helped us with the grant process."

"The additional public safety apparatus will enhance our public safety efforts and we thank Congresswoman Tsongas and our Senators for their support," said Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program was created because fire departments often have difficulty purchasing proper equipment. A ladder truck for a local fire department can run upwards of one million dollars and outfitting one firefighter with turnout gear and breathing apparatus can exceed $5,000. In addition, departments must fund training programs for paid and/or volunteer firefighters. The AFG and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs are the two main federal programs supporting local fire departments by helping them buy equipment and provide adequate training.