By JOHN HOWELL Some things are unexpected and very welcome. That can be said of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant giving the Fire Department $899,392 for an aerial ladder truck and $100,606.61 for
Some things are unexpected and very welcome.
That can be said of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant giving the Fire Department $899,392 for an aerial ladder truck and $100,606.61 for portable radio equipment.
The City Council approved the acquisition of a ladder truck to replace Ladder 1, which has been in service for 27 years, under the lease-purchase program in the current budget.
City Finance Director Peder Schaefer said Tuesday in drafting the budget he knew the department applied for the grant, but it appeared the chances of getting it were slim to none. As the ladder needs to be replaced, the city moved ahead to acquire it through a lease-purchase. Now, with the feds picking up the tab, Schaefer said the lease-purchase could be used to update other equipment.
Announcement of the grant, one of 19 totaling $5,495,328 going to fire departments and fire districts across the state, was celebrated Tuesday morning in Station One in front of the aging ladder truck with Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin taking turns to applaud firefighters and the city.
Reed observed “these are competitive grants” and that Warwick “put together the compelling arguments.” He said that since 2010, the Warwick department has won more than $10 million in grants to be one of the highest recipients of the FEMA grants in the state.
“You protect us. Our job is to give you the tools to do it,” Reed said.
Whitehouse credited Reed with hosting training sessions in grant writing. He said the event also provided him with the opportunity to thank first responders for “all they have done” during the pandemic. He noted they responded not knowing the dangers of COVID-19 and long before a vaccine become available.
With the 20th anniversary coming up this Saturday, Langevin spoke of 9/11 and how first responders rushed to the scene and acted to save people. He said 9/11 reminds us of how great the work of first responders is.
As for the grant, Chief Peter McMichael, who served as master of ceremonies, spoke of the great work his personnel did in securing the grant. The team of Lt. Scott Jensen, Lt. Corey White and Lt. Justin Vail prepared and submitted the grant application.
Mayor Frank Picozzi, who requested not to speak fearing the program was already too long, couldn’t avoid the prompting of his staff to say something. He thanked McMichael, whose efforts he believed had been overlooked.