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September 10, 2019

PRESS RELEASE

For More Information, Contact:

Lindsi Mailler, Municipal Clerk
City of Easthampton
50 Payson Avenue
Easthampton, MA 01027
(413) 529-1400 x143
lmailler@easthamptonma.gov

Senator Ed Markey, Congressman Richard Neal, and Easthampton Mayor Nicole
LaChapelle announce federal public safety grant awards

Easthampton Fire Department will receive over $600,000 for staffing, equipment

EASTHAMPTON – The City of Easthampton will be a recipient of two federal grants to bolster public safety and support the Easthampton Fire Department’s staffing and equipment needs. The grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will bring $613,278 to the fire department to hire additional firefighters and secure a firefighter protective gear dryer, an important precaution in preventing occupational cancer among firefighters.

“From Day One, I have maintained my commitment to secure additional funding from our partners at the state and federal levels to support Easthampton’s growth, and a key foundation for that growth is ensuring that our public safety departments have the resources they need to protect our residents and businesses here,” said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. “I’m grateful for the leadership of Senator Markey and Congressman Neal to secure this vital funding. Every step of the way, they have been staunch advocates for Easthampton’s revitalization and always ready to be a
partner as we fight for our fair share.”

Through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program, the Easthampton Fire
Department will receive $604,706 to hire four new firefighters. Easthampton was the only community in
Massachusetts and one of only 29 communities nationwide to receive this grant funding. SAFER Grants were
created to provide funding to fire departments specifically to increase or maintain the number of firefighters in their
communities.

Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor said, “This grant is one of the biggest events in the departments’ 165-year history. Our current staffing model has been in place since 1976 when we responded to 1266 emergency calls for service. This grant will allow us to reduce our response times to calls when we have multiple emergencies simultaneously as well as provide for safer fire ground operations for our firefighters.”

In addition, Easthampton will receive a second FEMA award through their Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) in the amount of $8,572 for a firefighter protective gear dryer. The specialized equipment and fire-resistant uniform in use by firefighters requires meticulous care not only to ensure they will be effective in the field, but also help to reduce exposure to dangerous toxic materials in the aftermath of a fire call.

Chief Mottor said, “One of the biggest challenges facing firefighters everywhere today is occupational cancer. We have taken several steps in Easthampton to reduce the risk to include regular washing of our firefighting gear. Once the gear is washed, we have to let it dry and that can take 2-3 days depending on humidity levels. With a gear dryer our firefighters will have the primary set of gear back in service quicker, providing them the highest level of protection.”

“Massachusetts is the Bay State, and our firefighters and first responders make it the Brave State,” said Senator Markey. “This federal funding will help our fire departments across the Commonwealth keep their communities safe and secure with the equipment, training, and support they need. I congratulate the recipients for all of their efforts securing these grants and express my gratitude for their service on the front lines keeping Massachusetts safe.”

“Our public safety officers across Massachusetts make incredible efforts to protect residents, and our fire departments are faced with particular hazards to their long-term health and well-being,” said Congressman Neal. “I am proud of the work that went into securing this grant and thank Senator Markey for continuing to be a partner for the small cities in Western Massachusetts, ensuring that our voices are heard.”

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Main Phone Number 413-529-1400
Municipal Building 50 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA 01027