Stafford Fire Department Can Breathe Easier After Receiving Grant From FEMA

Stafford Fire Department No. 1 will receive a federal grant for new equipment.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said Sept. 17 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the department $62,858 for new equipment to support the functioning of self-contained breathing apparatuses through the refill system for those devices.

“It’s great to see more federal resources being directed back home to us in eastern Connecticut,” Courtney said in a written release. “FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program has had real success in providing resources to our local fire departments, but the grant awards have become highly competitive — the awards aren’t just handed out, and it takes a lot of work to win them. I’m glad that I was able to lend my support to the Stafford Fire Department’s grant application, and proud of Town of Stafford for putting in the work to identify and successfully apply for these federal grant dollars.”

The funding comes at a good time for the fire department. On Sept. 12, Stafford Ambulance Chief Alex Moore, Stafford Fire Department No. 1 Chief David Lucia, West Stafford Fire Department Chief Joseph Lorenzetti, and Assistant Chief William Morrison met with selectmen to discuss the 2019-20 approved emergency services budgets.

First Selectwoman Mary Mitta said the board reviewed all departments’ budget requests carefully but had to make cuts. Lorenzetti said he had a large increase in insurance costs after the budget was approved. He said he was surprised by the budget cut and would have liked to have been notified by selectmen. The board agreed that in the future emergency services departments would be asked to meet with selectmen to discuss budget changes.

Lucia told the board changes in fire services are coming. He said he feels the fire departments will need to consolidate and that a fire tax district and paid personnel will become necessary.

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