Bellows Falls, Wardsboro fire departments receive federal grants

Two local fire departments were among the recipients of $1.9 million of federal funding for firefighters and EMS personnel throughout Vermont.

Vermont's congressional delegation announced the awards Oct. 7. They are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which helps fire departments and EMS agencies train and purchase critically needed equipment, according to a news release.

This year's grants will help buy a range of equipment, including turnout gear, breathing apparatus, hoses and nozzles, radios and cardiac monitors.

“These federal grants will help our first-responders protect Vermonters. Our firefighters and EMS personnel play an invaluable role in our communities and we are pleased to be able to help provide the resources they need,” said Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., in a joint statement.

Federal grants were also awarded to the Bellows Falls Fire Department, which is getting $142,858, and the Wardsboro Fire Department, which is getting $129,524.

The largest of the grant awards is for the Vermont Department of Public Safety's Fire Academy, which is receiving $500,000 for a “burn building,” a training facility that provides opportunities to practice firefighting scenarios.

“The Vermont Fire Academy is grateful to have received [Assistance to Firefighters Grants] funding that will allow us the opportunity to replace our live-fire training burn building. This is a real boost for the Vermont firefighting community. Thanks to all that continue to support this grant,” said Peter Lynch, the state's chief of fire service training for the Vermont Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Public Safety, in the news release.

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