Warwick fire dept. awarded $80K grant for breathing apparatus 

  • The Warwick Fire Department has received $80,000 to purchase new self contained breathing apparatuses. The old equipment, pictured, is out of date, bulky and heavy. Fire Chief Joe Larson said the new packs, which meet requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association, use updated technology and are lighter in weight. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/JOE LARSON

  • The Warwick Fire Department has received $80,000 to purchase new self contained breathing apparatuses. The old equipment, pictured, is out of date, bulky and heavy. Fire Chief Joe Larson said the new packs, which meet requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association, use updated technology and are lighter in weight. Contributed Photo/Joe Larson

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2020 10:56:01 AM

WARWICK – The Warwick Fire Department has been awarded $80,000 in federal funding to purchase new breathing apparatus as part of the 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) late last week announced $59 million in direct assistance grants to 392 fire departments nationwide through the agency’s fiscal year 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

Fire Chief Joe Larson said the money will be used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses for the departments’ members. The department currently has 15 members.

“It was very needed,” he said. “Our equipment was from the early 2000s.”

The updated equipment will not only benefit firefighters on the scene of a fire but allow them to attend updated training programs as well.

Larson said the department was actually unable to send a member of the department with the current equipment for training at the Massachusetts Fire Academy because it was too old. He said the bottles from their old air packs went out of service a few years ago, and they had to use a different style bottle donated from another department.

The new packs meet requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association. He said they use new technology and are lighter in weight, making them easier to use while battling a fire.

According to Larson, former Fire Chief Ronald Gates had applied for the grant before he retired at the end of June.

Larson said he did not know exactly how many packs the $80,000 would cover because the equipment is expensive. He estimated the Warwick Fire Department would get a minimum of 10 new packs, as well as spare oxygen bottles.

“Like anything, new equipment also gives a sense of pride to our members and helps with retention,” he said. “The packs should last for years.”

The grant money is specifically for the new self-contained breathing apparatuses, Larson said. He noted this funding allows the department to save taxpayer money to potentially purchase other needed equipment in the future.

Since 2001, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

Eligible applicants include local fire departments, fire districts, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, tribal fire departments and state fire training academies. The grant applications are submitted from each agency directly to FEMA, where the applications are reviewed and scored by fire service personnel from throughout the nation.

FEMA obligates funding for this project directly to the recipient agencies. It is the recipient agency’s responsibility to manage their grant award within federal guidelines with technical assistance and monitoring provided by FEMA fire program specialists.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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