In an effort to bolster Rhode Island's emergency response capabilities, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Jim Langevin announced March 2 the Warwick Fire Department will receive a $683,451 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to purchase a new aerial ladder truck. The new truck will replace a 23-year-old vehicle that was often placed out of service due to repairs.
“The truck is the most important and expensive piece of equipment in a fire station and this federal assistance will ensure Warwick is better equipped for emergencies,” said Reed. “The new truck will enhance safety for both firefighters and residents.”
The AFG program awards one-year grants through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to local fire departments and emergency responders, enhancing their ability to respond to emergencies. This program supports local departments by providing them with the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel.
"The Warwick firefighters would like to thank Mayor Avedisian and the congressional delegation for their support during our grant application process,” said Warwick Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong. “The Warwick Fire Department has received two grants over the past four months due to the excellent work of the grant writing committee, which consists of Pvt. Scott Jensen, Lieutenant Jason Erban and Pvt. Christopher Albro. For the city of Warwick Fire Department to receive 80 percent of the cost of a new ladder truck through this grant, the citizens of Warwick are not burdened with the total cost.”
The Fire Department was awarded a grant of $854,313, 80 percent of which the federal government will provide. Armstrong said the department will be taking competitive bids for the truck, which they are hoping to purchase for less than the $683,450 they’ll receive.
Armstrong is grateful for the opportunity for a new truck, which he said is long overdue.
“Our firefighters often take risks to protect us and keep our families and neighborhoods safe,” said Whitehouse. “This federal funding will allow the Warwick fire department to purchase a new ladder truck, helping them to effectively respond to emergencies.”
Congressman Langevin, who wrote a letter of support for the grant, said it’s important to extend gratitude and tangible support to those who make sacrifices for the safety and well being of the community.
"Our first responders have made an extraordinary commitment to serving their communities," said Langevin. " I continue to offer any assistance I can to Chief Armstrong, who truly demonstrates an undying loyalty to his crew and the people they serve."
Mayor Scott Avedisian is grateful for the grant money, and is looking forward to replacing the outdated aerial ladder truck.
“The new truck will assure a full fleet of aerial ladder trucks on the road – something that's especially important for the safety and well-being of residents throughout Rhode Island, since the city of Warwick has the only permanently staffed, non cross-manned ladder company from Warwick south to the Connecticut border," he said.