Press Release – Harwich Fire Receives Federal Grant

Harwich Fire Department – Press Release

For Immediate Release

September 4, 2020

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Summary: The Harwich Fire Department is the latest Department on Cape Cod to receive notification of an award by the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program.  This highly completive program provides valuable funding for much needed equipment and programs for Fire Departments across the United States.  The Grant, totaling 409,296.36 was announced this week. The grant will provide the department with replacement Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and compressors.

Details: For the third year in a row, the Harwich Fire Department has been named the recipient of Assistance to Firefighters grant.  The Department submitted a request for funding to replace all the Department’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), Compressors used to Refill the SCBA, and Rapid Intervention (RIT) packs. 

The FEMA website describes the program as follows, “The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG 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.”

Failure to secure this grant would have required the Town to fund the replacement through the Capital budget over the next two years.  “While every grant award is beneficial to the Department and Town, this award is particularly timely considering the current budget concerns.”  Said Fire Chief David LeBlanc.  “Removing almost $600,000 from the next two years of the Capital Plan provides some much needed relief to the Town of Harwich.”

The Department was faced with replacing 42 SCBA and spare cylinders within the next three years, before they became obsolete.  The cylinders are in their final years of the life cycle, and the SCBA no longer meet the National Fire Protection Association Standard.  This grant will provide firefighters with SCBA that are better designed to reduce injuries, and maintain their working time while operating at incidents and increase their overall safety.

“The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Program is to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards.

After careful consideration, FEMA has determined that the recipient’s project or projects submitted as part of the recipient’s application, and detailed in the project narrative as well as the request details section of the application – including budget information – was consistent with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program’s purpose and worthy of award.”

As part of the program, FEMA provides training and guidance through the Regional Grant Offices. Each year the Department works closely with David L. Parr, our Regional Fire Program Specialist for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – DHS / FEMA – Region 1 to ensure we meet the requirements of the program. Mr. Parr’s assistance is invaluable in both the application process and subsequent award.