Gardner was awarded $248,181.82 in grant funding to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus for every member of the Gardner Fire Department.
“There’s no question that the Gardner firefighters who show up to work each day and go above and beyond the call of duty are local heroes,” Congresswoman Trahan said. “They and their loved ones deserve to know that when they show up to work each day, they’ll have the equipment they need to do their jobs as safely as possible, and return home after each shift. This federal investment will help deliver that assurance, and I’m happy to help deliver these funds to the department.”
This sentiment was also echoed by US Senator Edward Markey as well. “Firefighters in Massachusetts have earned our unyielding support for the sacrifices they make each day to keep our Massachusetts families safe,” said Markey. “This important federal funding will equip the Gardner Fire Department with the latest and greatest breathing apparatus, so that Gardner’s firefighters are prepared for the worst situations. In an emergency situation where mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death, this new breathing equipment could truly mean all the difference.”
The Gardner Fire Department currently employs forty members, including the Fire Chief and Captain positions. At any time of the day, eight firefighters are on duty. The funding awarded through this grant will be used to purchase new oxygen tanks, masks, and full breathing units for the firefighters to wear when they respond to emergency situations.
“This was excellent news to hear. Our first responders have gone above and beyond in their duties, particularly during the current pandemic, and they deserve to have the equipment they need to keep themselves safe,” said Gardner Mayor Mike Nicholson. “This type of equipment usually has a lifespan of 10 years, and we well over that on our current equipment. This type of equipment is necessary to keep our firefighters safe, and I’m proud to see us be able to update our existing inventory.”
Fire Chief Richard Ares also spoke about how the purchase of this equipment not only enables the City to meet the latest National Fire Protection Association Standards, but also helps protect the City’s first responders during emergencies. “The last time we purchased this type of equipment was in 2007, however, we did not have the funding to purchase the apparatus for every firefighter. As a result, half of our officers have one brand of equipment and the other half have a different brand,” explained Ares. “If any of our firefighters ever have an emergency with their units, they should be thinking about how to quickly protect themselves, not having to worry about which brand of equipment they put on while rushing out the door. This grant allows us to ensure that we are protecting the safety of our employees and helps keep them safe when they run into these dangerous situations.”
The importance of providing each firefighter with a new apparatus was echoed by US Senator Elizabeth Warren as well. “"Our brave firefighters risk their lives protecting our families every single day, and we must support them by providing the equipment and resources they need to keep themselves and our communities across the Commonwealth safe,” said Warren. “These federal dollars will ensure a new breathing apparatus for each member of the Gardner Fire Department so our firefighters can continue to protect our communities in the safest possible way.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program was launched by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2001 to assist 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.