Above: The new doors at Station One.
The doors are at Station 1, the new bays are being added at Station 2
The EG Fire Department is getting $167,000 in federal funding to supplement an earlier $284,000 federal grant for new radios, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Seth Magaziner announced last week. Fire districts in Harrisville and Hope Valley also received funding.
The money comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. According to EG Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude, the radios will allow pivotal communication between EG firefighters as well as mutual aid partners from neighboring communities.
“The topography of the town is awful,” he said, noting that the new radios will be stronger and provide more stable connectivity. “This new system is much safer.”
In addition, he said, the state will maintain the backbone of the system so the town won’t have to buy additional equipment to keep the system working.
Other federal funds – from the town’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars – are being used to add two vehicle bays at Station 2 on Frenchtown Road, doubling the size of storage there.
“We had no room for reserve trucks,” Patenaude said, so those trucks were being parked outside. “These are very expensive vehicles and we don’t want to leave them outside.”
The relatively simple metal structure could be up by the end of November, he said, at a cost of $800,000.
ARP money also paid for the new red doors at Station 1 that give the main firehouse a more old-fashioned look in keeping with the historic downtown, according to Patenaude. He credited Town Manager Andy Nota with helping shepherd that through. The cost for those doors was $70,000 installed.
“It’s a definite improvement to the look of the Main Street station,” he said. “Now we need more painting and brick repointing. That will take place when we get the funding for it.”
In other updates, Patenaude said the entire department just took part in defensive emergency vehicle training offered through the town’s insurer, the Interlocal Trust. There was a classroom portion and simulator training too.
“It reinforces the things we have to do safely to get to where we need to go,” he said.
Patenaude also said the fire department is hiring, with four firefighter vacancies – “We’re looking at laterals right now because we need to get them in quick.”