EXETER—State legislators announced this week that the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department, No. 1, will be receiving approximately $40,000 in grant monies to help purchase new equipment for the 47-member force. The grant award was the result work done by state and local officials to procure funding for the department.
“Exeter is fortunate to have a group of volunteers who are dedicated to providing our residents with a professional response to the hazards of structure and forest fires,” said Exeter Town Councilman Calvin Ellis. “New and improved equipment will ensure their greater safety and more effective efforts on our behalf. Special thanks goes to Councilman Bob Johnson for his assistance in procuring this grant.”
Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, as well as Congressman James Langevin, were largely responsible for procuring the funding, which is provided through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.
“This new gear will better equip Exeter’s firefighters and help them protect themselves and the community,” said Reed. “I salute Chief [David] Chamberlin, Curt Varone and their grant writing team for winning this competitive grant. This new, reliable protective equipment will help Exeter’s firefighter’s better serve the community.”
The $40,000 grant will be used towards the purchase of 17 complete sets of protective gear, including coats, pants, suspenders, boots, helmets, gloves and hoods, worn by firefighters. Currently, the Exeter Fire Department has only 21 sets of gear which are still suitable for use.
“The Exeter Fire Department No. 1 is truly grateful for the tremendous support of Senators Reed and Whitehouse, [as well as] Congressman Langevin in securing the grant for new protective gear,” said Deputy Chief Curt Varone. “The award will allow us to replace 17 sets of turnout gear that are 15 to 20 years old with safe, reliable gear that meets current national standards.”
“Replacing this gear would have been impossible, given our current budget situation,” he added.
The grant award represents 25 percent of the volunteer fire department’s budget. Fire departments across the state have received more than $3 million in federal monies through the AFG and other assistance programs.
“Rhode Island firefighters work tirelessly every day to protect their communities, and their safety must be a top priority,” said Whitehouse. “This grant will help provide Exeter’s dedicated team of volunteer firefighters with the protective equipment they need to get the job done safely and effectively.”