Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that fire departments throughout Maine have received a total of $1,325,705 to upgrade equipment and support personnel. The funding was awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program to provide critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel, enhance efficiencies, and support community resilience. Some of the grants were funded by annual AFG appropriations provided by Congress while others were funded by the $100 million provided in the CARES Act for firefighters to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Firefighters and fire support staff put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This important investment will ensure that our Maine fire departments have the necessary equipment and personnel to continue to keep our families and communities safe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The funding was allocated as follows:
· Veazie Fire Department received $39,901 to replace its current cardiac monitor that was discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer serviceable, as well as to purchase a cardiac monitor.
· Bangor Fire Department received $99,728 to replace its outdated and noncompliant fire department radios with new, mobile communications equipment.
· Houlton Fire Department received $7,157 to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
· Albion Fire Department received $342,666 for a water tanker truck and a large diameter fire hose.
· Winslow Fire Department received $97,904 for firefighter breathing apparatuses.
· Biddeford Fire Department received $25,520 for firefighter personal escape devices.
· Newport Fire Department received $15,140 for a protective gear washer and dryer.
· Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department received $12,528.
· Woolwich Fire Department received $3,139.
· Fairfield Fire Department received $125,240.
· Arundel Fire and Rescue received $5,816.
· Jefferson Fire Department received $1,167.
· Westbrook Fire Department received $21,809.
· West Gardiner Fire Department received $2,127.
· Fryeburg Fire Department received $15,223.
· Auburn Fire Department received $101,481.
· Portland Fire Department received $216,600.
· Casco Fire Department received $69,788.
· Eddington Fire Department received $65,055.
· Old Orchard Beach Fire Department received $43,147.
· Falmouth Fire Department $7,427.
· Kittery Fire Department received $7,142.
As co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Senator Collins has been a longstanding advocate for Maine's first responders, fighting hard to ensure they have the resources and support necessary to protect lives and property. Senator Collins annually leads a bipartisan letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging robust funding for FEMA’s firefighter grant programs, which she helped create in 2003, and the FY20 homeland security funding legislation included $335 million each for both AFG and the SAFER grant program. Following the inclusion of an additional $100 million for the AFG program in the CARES Act, Senator Collins spearheaded a bipartisan letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, urging him to expedite the release of this funding for firefighters to purchase PPE. Later that month, FEMA announced that it had begun accepting applications for the emergency funding.