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Courtney announces $850K in federal funding for eastern Connecticut fire departments

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney on Thursday announced more than $850,000 in federal funding for fire departments across eastern Connecticut, including New London, Groton and Norwich.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will award grants totaling $859,266 to six fire departments in the eastern part of the state.

The Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department in Groton will receive $47,928 to support vehicle extraction training.

The New London Fire Department will receive $307,229 to support firefighter training, the purchase of hazardous materials equipment, firefighter cancer screening, and wellness equipment.

The Norwich Fire Department will receive of $193,977 to purchase vehicle extraction equipment.

Courtney said the funding comes at a crucial time, when fire departments have been helping residents recover from Tropical Storm Isaias in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"Eastern Connecticut fire departments are relying on federal funding like this more than ever," Courtney said Thursday. "In the midst of a global pandemic, eastern Connecticut was also buffeted (Tuesday) night by Tropical Storm Isaias. Fire departments across our region have already been helping to respond to all sorts of coronavirus-related priorities, and rest assured their workload will increase as storm-related emergencies are reported. Their service is crucial to the health and safety of our communities, and these new federal funds will help support the training and equipment they rely on to get the job done each day."

"Our firefighters haven't stopped putting on their uniforms and going to work each day, and they deserve compensation for putting themselves and their families at risk to protect our communities," he said.

The grants will be distributed through FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which aims to fund critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel, enhance efficiencies and support community resilience, according to Courtney's statement.

"The AFG Grants we've received here in New London allows us to replace our outdated equipment, replacing it with the newest technology, and also provides invaluable training from the Connecticut State Fire Academy," New London fire Chief Thomas Curcio said. "We thank Rep. Courtney's office and FEMA for their support and funding for these much-needed grants."

t.hartz@theday.com

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