Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch announced today that the Town of Braintree has been awarded a Fire Grant from the Department of Homeland Security and United States Fire Administration (USFA).  The federally-funded award, in the amount of $202,414, will fund operations and firefighter safety.  Braintree is the seventh community in the Ninth Congressional District to receive an award in Fiscal Year 2004.

This is the third Fire Grant that the Town of Braintree has received from the federal government.  In 2002, FEMA awarded the Braintree Fire Department $82,217 to fund HAZMAT operations and firefighter training.  And in 2003, Congressman Lynch helped Braintree to secure a second Fire Grant for $184,408 to fund fire operations and firefighter safety.

Funded by Congress, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, EMS programs, and Fire Prevention and Safety Programs.  The total of all FY 2004 awards will represent a $750 million investment to enhance fire and EMS service delivery throughout the United States.

"Firefighters are on the front lines protecting our communities.  They risk their lives to keep our families safe and our homeland secure. This funding will go a long way in helping these brave men and women continue the extraordinary job they do for all those in their communities,” Senator Kennedy said of the funding. 

"Firefighters are on our frontlines of defense every day, whether its homeland security or protecting our families in an emergency.  We need to be sure they have the tools they need.  This grant for the Braintree Fire Department is important to keeping these heroes and our communities safe,” said Senator Kerry.

Congressman Lynch said, "This grant is some good news for the Town of Braintree.  Chief Gerry Kenny put a strong case forward to Homeland Security officials and it’s obvious they recognized his department’s hard work and commitment to the people they’ve sworn to protect.  I realize that the state budget situation is very difficult right now and we are working with our Senator Mike Morrissey and Representative Joe Driscoll to come up with ways to get us through these tough economic times.  I hope that by directing these federal dollars toward local public safety needs, we will provide some relief to the local tax base.”

Nearly 20,000 fire departments - volunteer and career - applied for grant awards this year, submitting requests totaling almost $2.5 billion. A lengthy peer review, involving 300 fire service representatives from throughout the United States, was conducted by the USFA over the past several months.  Braintree was one of just 230 fire departments nationwide, and nine in Massachusetts, to be selected in this round of awards.
Congressman Lynch has been working closely with each of the cities and towns in the Ninth Congressional District on their applications for federal grants under the Fire Act, and additional funding for first responders made available after September 11th.  Lynch added, "Braintree’s commitment to providing its firefighters with state-of-the art equipment and training and the town’s cooperation with regional emergency officials have made them an ideal candidate for homeland security funding.  But it’s been the leadership of Chief Kenny at the Fire Department and Chief Frazier at the Police Department that has made Braintree so successful at securing these funds.”