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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

Blumenthal, Murphy, Larson and DeLauro Announce Fire Safety Grants for Seymour, Middletown and East Hartford

April 15, 2013
Press Release

Hartford, CT -- Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01)Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.),  and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) announced today the awards of three federal fire Operations and Safety (OP &S) Grants through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant programs administered by FEMA. These grants will help improve the safety and operations of firefighters and first responders in Seymour, Middletown and East Hartford.

The Seymour Ambulance Association will receive $61,085 to upgrade radios used to communicate between emergency response vehicles and dispatchers. Radios currently in use are out of date and not up to code with state and FCC requirements.

"Firefighters deserve the right tools when protecting our families and communities from fire related hazards," said Congressman Larson. "I am very pleased to see funding go to the East Hartford Fire Department for communications equipment upgrades. These needed improvements will help ensure the safety of our neighbors and our brave first responders while also improving their ability to coordinate with nearby departments. I am also pleased to see the Westfield Fire District receive funding for the addition of thermal imaging cameras, crucial for assessing danger and locating trapped or injured individuals. Each of these competitive grants will help strengthen department operations in the first district and above all help keep our towns and first responders safe."

"We were very pleased to receive the grant funds. It will facilitate communication between EMTs and hospitals and improve service for our residents. I would like to thank the delegation and all those who helped secure this grant," said Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller.

The Westfield Fire District in Middletown will receive $12,341 to purchase two thermal imaging cameras. The new equipment will replace old and outdated equipment currently in use. The cameras will allow firefighters to see inside burning buildings, around walls and through other infrastructure. The cameras can be used to detect heat sources, fires, and occupants in a burning building, and can be used to determine the temperature of a room and whether it is safe to enter. This is the second federal firefighting award for Middletown in Fiscal Year 2013. Earlier this year Middletown received $1.14 million through the SAFER Grant program to hire eight additional firefighters.

"These thermal imaging cameras will assist our brave Westfield firefighters in keeping the people of their district safe without any impact to local taxpayers. It takes tremendous courage to fight fire, and it's important that our firefighters have the tools they need to do the job," said Middletown Mayor Dan Drew.

The East Hartford Fire Department will receive $139,200 for radio upgrades to communicate between emergency vehicles and dispatch. As with Seymour, the radios currently in use are not up to code with state and FCC requirements. The grant will also enable East Hartford to purchase new repeaters that will improve the town's ability to communicate over multi-frequency and multi-channel receivers with other departments.

"We are grateful for the support from FEMA and the delegation. This funding will allow the East Hartford Fire Department to dramatically improve its communication system. When completed, the project will significantly improve firefighter safety by improving our radio communications system. The town's fire department is a critical service used every day by our citizens and visitors. This funding will enable our firefighters to better serve the community by enhancing our radio communications system. An additional aspect of the project improves our ability to communicate with our neighboring communities. This becomes vital during large scale emergencies as well as during natural disasters and other extreme events," said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc.

"These are well-deserved awards to help protect our brave first responders in Seymour, Middletown and East Hartford. Our firefighters and first responders risk their lives every day to protect ours, and they deserve the best equipment available," said Senator Blumenthal.

"These grants will provide lifesaving support to help firefighters do their jobs safely and effectively in East Hartford, Middletown, and Seymour. I'll continue to fight for these heroes who put their lives on the line to protect our communities day in and day out." Murphy said.

"Ensuring first responders have updated and necessary equipment is crucial to protecting not only the public, but the brave men and women who serve our communities," Congresswoman DeLauro said. "The equipment purchased with these grants will better prepare the first responders of Middletown, Seymour, and East Hartford for the dangerous and lifesaving work they so ably do."

These are the ninth, tenth and eleventh federal firefighting grants awarded in Connecticut in Fiscal Year 2013. Middletown received $1.14 million to hire eight additional firefighters and Waterbury received $2.9 million to hire new fire recruits through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters grant programs administered by FEMA. Shelton, Norwalk, Torrington, Southington and Waterbury also received grants to support operations and safety measures.