Massachusetts fire departments receive safety equipment funding

February 14, 2024

The Healey-Driscoll Administration recently unveiled a $5 million initiative to bolster the safety and efficiency of fire departments throughout Massachusetts.

Through the Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant program, 321 fire departments across the state are set to benefit from this substantial financial support.

“Every single day, firefighters across Massachusetts put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities,” stated Governor Maura Healey.

She emphasized the state’s gratitude and commitment to supporting these brave individuals, noting, “They deserve our thanks and our support.

“The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant program is just one way we can express our appreciation for that selfless dedication.”

Ensuring firefighter safety and preparedness

The grant aims to enhance the operational capabilities of firefighters, equipping them with essential tools and specialty equipment.

This initiative is critical in preparing these first responders for a variety of emergencies, ranging from structure fires and water rescues to hazardous materials incidents and building collapses.

Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll highlighted the unpredictable nature of firefighting and the importance of the grant in safeguarding those who serve.

“From structure fires and water rescues to hazardous materials and building collapses, firefighters never know what life-threatening risks the next call will bring,” Driscoll said.

“These grants will support the purchase of fundamental tools and specialty equipment to help them do a dangerous job more safely.”

Addressing evolving threats and enhancing health and safety

The program, now in its fourth year, supports the acquisition of over 135 types of eligible equipment, including personal protective gear, communication tools, and life-saving devices.

Notably, the initiative also focuses on combating emerging threats, such as active shooter situations, by providing ballistic vests and helmets to personnel.

Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy praised the proactive stance of Massachusetts fire departments in responding to new challenges.

“For the second year in a row, many fire departments are using this program to provide their personnel with ballistic vests and helmets so they can make life-saving rescues in active shooter situations,” Reidy remarked.

“As we confront this growing threat and other emerging hazards, we are proud of the way Massachusetts fire departments have risen to every challenge.”

Moreover, the program addresses occupational health risks, such as cancer, which remains the leading cause of death among firefighters.

Deputy Secretary Susan Terrey highlighted the importance of proper protective gear and cleaning practices in mitigating these risks.

“We now know that wearing the right type of protective gear and cleaning it properly can reduce that risk.

“This program will give many firefighters access to tools that will help protect them from the number one threat to their health and well-being,” Terrey said.

State Fire Marshal Jon Davine and Hyannis Fire Chief Peter Burke, President of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, also commended the program’s impact on enhancing firefighter safety and public safety at large.

FSJA Comment

The Healey-Driscoll Administration’s announcement of $5 million in grants for fire departments across Massachusetts underscores a significant commitment to the safety and efficacy of the state’s first responders.

This funding initiative, facilitating the acquisition of a wide array of safety equipment, reflects a strategic approach to addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by firefighters daily.

By supporting the purchase of essential gear and specialized tools, the program enhances the operational preparedness of fire departments, playing a crucial role in mitigating the health risks associated with firefighting, particularly occupational cancer.

The emphasis on flexibility, allowing departments to cater to their unique needs, ensures a broad-based impact, enhancing the safety of both firefighters and the communities they serve.

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