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March 15, 2005


Funds to improve equipment and enhance citizen education


Governor Mitt Romney today awarded more than $11 million in grants to fund new equipment for firefighters and fire safety education efforts in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.


“Every day, our firefighters put their lives on the line. They deserve the security of knowing that we’ve given them the best possible tools to do the job. These grants are a critical investment in the peace of mind that comes with effective fire prevention and response.”


In the wake of the 2003 Rhode Island Station nightclub fire that left 100 dead and almost 200 injured, Romney formed a 32-member Task Force on Fire and Building Safety to review the Commonwealth’s fire safety laws and regulations for similar public establishments. The need for the funding announced today was part of the final bill that the Governor signed into law in August of 2004.


The Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) is awarding the $10 million in equipment grants to fire departments of cities, towns, authorities and fire districts for the purchase of firefighting equipment or for up to 50 percent of personnel costs. The departments that applied are receiving grants based upon a population formula.


“Fire safety hinges upon our ability to both prevent and respond to emergencies,” said Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn. “These grants are investments in more informed citizens and better equipped fire departments.”


Romney said the largest grants will go to:



$ 264,000



$ 102,000



$ 102,000


Fall River

$ 102,000



$ 102,000



$ 102,000



$ 102,000



In addition, $1.08 million will be awarded in Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) grants. The S.A.F.E. program was established in 1996 in an effort to reduce the number of fire deaths in the Commonwealth. The program’s mission is to provide students with the knowledge to recognize the dangers of fire, especially the fire hazard that smoking materials pose and to survive those fires that do occur. Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the nation and children of smokers tend to have greater access to matches and lighters.


S.A.F.E. uses specially trained firefighters to teach fire and life safety education. The core of the S.A.F.E. Program is school-based programming, but may also be used to implement community fire and life safety education programs outside of school buildings. Funding was awarded to all qualified fire departments based on their previous S.A.F.E program implementation.


“The number of children dying in fires each year in the Commonwealth, on average, has been cut in half since the S.A.F.E. Program started in 1996,” said Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. “Continuing to raise a fire safe generation of children in Massachusetts is the best way to reduce fire deaths among adults as well.”

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