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August 17, 2018

Maine fire departments, fire academy awarded federal grants

Courtesy / Burgess Advertising & Marketing
Courtesy / Burgess Advertising & Marketing
Breeanna Zoidis, a 26-year-old paramedic and firefighter in Biddeford, talks about her job in one of the videos for the HoMetown Careers digital and social media campaign of the Maine Municipal Association. The Maine Firefighting Academy in Brunswick and six town fire departments have learned they will receive funding from the latest round of federal grants to support training practices, protective gear and technology,

The Maine Firefighting Academy in Brunswick and six town fire departments will receive funding from the latest round of federal grants to support training practices, protective gear and technology, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, announced on Thursday.

The grants, awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, include $227,827 for the Maine Firefighting Academy for training equipment.

"Maine's firefighters and emergency health professionals protect our communities with outstanding bravery," Collins and King said in a joint statement. "We welcome this investment, which will allow departments to acquire high-quality protection gear and training equipment to help protect our state's firefighters."

In early July, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Maine's two senators, known as The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, was signed into law. It calls on the Centers for Disease Control to monitor and study the relationship between career-long exposure to dangerous fumes and the incidence of cancer in firefighters to determine if there is a link, and to develop better protective gear and prevention techniques.

Grants were awarded to the following town fire departments:

  • Brewer: $120,000 for firefighter breathing apparatus.
  • Casco: $49,762 for a diesel fume exhaust system.
  • Gray: $35,829 for wellness and fitness equipment.
  • Portland: $681,819 for a heavy rescue truck
  • Rockland: $217,591 for firefighter breathing apparatus.
  • Eddington: $201,091 as a regional grant for Eddington, Brewer, Dedham-Lucerne, Holden and Orrington for automated external defibrillators and cardiac monitors.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations in improving their emergency response capabilities.

The program provides federal funding that enables the organizations to buy equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources to better protect emergency personnel and the communities they serve.

Mainebiz reported in March on the challenge emergency medical services face in recruiting medical workers, particularly in rural areas. The state's nearly 275 emergency rescue services include small municipal fire departments and a handful of private for-profit companies.

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