Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressmen Seth Moulton (D-MA)
September 13th, 2019
Topsfield, Mass. — Today, Representative Seth Moulton (MA-06) joined FEMA Region 1 Fire Program Specialist Dave Parr to deliver a $429,715 regional grant to the Topsfield, Essex, and Middleton Fire Departments.
The departments will use the grant to purchase radios that will allow them to communicate with each other and other departments in the region at the scene of large fires.
“When I served in Iraq, I learned what it’s like to go into harm’s way without the right protective equipment. In those days, we didn’t have the right armor for our truck.” Moulton said. “The firefighters in our community shouldn’t experience a feeling like that. These FEMA grants will ensure firefighters can connect and communicate at the scene.”
The congressionally-appropriated funds will be used to buy 90 modernized, portable radios to the three fire departments. The departments submitted a regional application to the competitive federal grant program, and Moulton authored a letter of support for the grants.
Moulton has supported other fire departments that received funding in the last two weeks as the end of the fiscal year approaches. This week, Moulton also announced the following grants for fire departments in the 6th Congressional District:
A $32,800 grant to the Reading Fire Department for four firefighter protective gear washers and two dryers.
A $37,546 grant for the Peabody Fire Department for two protective gear washers and two protective gear dryers.
An $884,883 grant through FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program for the Saugus Fire Department. The congressionally-appropriated grant will help Saugus hire and train five new firefighters.
Moulton supported each of these grant applications when the departments applied.
The radios funded by the grant to the Topsfield, Essex and Middleton Fire Departments will allow the department to communicate on the scene of fires with other departments using different radio frequencies. For example, when the department responds to fires where other departments from New Hampshire or in Middlesex County respond, those departments often have radios that operate either on UHF or VHF frequencies, but not both. Older radios only work on one frequency, meaning the fire departments can’t use radios to talk to each other. This is especially problematic during search and rescue operations or when a firefighter is missing.
Since 1999, when six members of the Worcester Fire Department were killed in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, radio interoperability has been recognized as an essential aspect of firefighter safety. With the award of this grant, firefighters in Topsfield, Essex, and Middleton will no longer have to search out the correct portable radio when going to a mutual aid emergency. Every radio will have the capability to use any city or town’s frequency.