Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch announced today that the Town of East Bridgewater 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 $52,250, will be used to fund the installation of exhaust removal system for East Bridgewater fire station.


This is the second Fire Grant that Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Congressman Lynch have helped to secure for the East Bridgewater Fire Department.  In 2004, Kennedy, Kerry and Lynch assisted in obtaining $96,363 in federal funding for the Town of East Bridgewater to fund the purchase of 25 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and a Rapid Intervention Team Rescue Air Kit.


Funded by Congress, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, EMS programs, and Fire Prevention and Safety Programs, and to fund the purchase of new firefighting equipment.   The total of all 2007 awards will represent a $490 million investment to enhance fire and EMS service delivery throughout the United States.


Senator Kennedy said, "This grant provides needed and well-deserved federal assistance to the courageous Fire Fighters in East Bridgewater who do so much to protect their community. We owe our first responders all the support they need, and I commend the Department of Homeland Security for providing these funds."


“Our first responders are the heroes of our communities, and I’m thrilled that Chief Pratt and the East Bridgewater Fire Department is getting the funding it needs to be able enhance its response capabilities,” said Senator Kerry. “I thank these brave men and women for their service to our community.”


Congressman Lynch said, “This Fire Grant is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of Chief Ryon Pratt and the entire East Bridgewater Fire Department.  They have demonstrated the ability to adapt and respond to new threats and to do what it takes to protect the families of East Bridgewater.  Working together with Senators Bob Creedon and Brian Joyce, Representative Allen McCarthy and the Board of Selectmen, we hope that by directing these federal dollars toward local public safety needs, we will provide some relief to the local tax base.”


East Bridgewater Fire Chief Ryon Pratt said, “These funds will allow us to purchase a badly needed vehicle exhaust removal system and create a healthier environment relative to air quality for our firefighters to work in.  I thank Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Congressman Lynch for their continued support of our Department.”


More than 20,000 fire departments 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.  East Bridgewater was one of only four fire departments in Massachusetts selected in this round of awards. 


Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Congressman Lynch have 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, “East Bridgewater’s commitment to providing its firefighters with state-of-the art equipment and training has demonstrated that the town is an ideal candidate for homeland security funding.  But it's been the leadership of Chief Pratt at the Fire Department that has made East Bridgewater so successful at securing these funds.”