By Sandy Quadros Bowles
PAXTON, Mass. — The fire department has added eight automatic defibrillators and two cardiac monitors to its arsenal thanks to a $76,000 federal grant.
U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern visited the Paxton Public Safety Complex Wednesday, Jan. 9, to announce the grant, which was awarded by the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
McGovern said he had "no doubt'' that the grant would "save lives.''
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The grant program was inspired by the Worcester Cold Storage fire, which killed six city firefighters in December 1999, he said.
"Homeland security in my opinion means hometown security,'' McGovern said. "It's important that Paxton first responders have the best equipment.''
The grant program is "extremely competitive,'' FEMA Regional Fire Program Special David Parr said. The program receives 11,661 applications but awards only about 1,000 grants.
Fire Chief Jay J. Conte saluted Lt. Michael Pingitore for his efforts in securing the grant for Paxton.
"We are thrilled to receive this $76,000 grant,'' Town Administrator Carol Riches said in a prepared statement. "It will fund the replacement of outdated defibrillators that are vital to our EMS and Fire and Police department.''
State Rep. Kim Ferguson, R-Holden, said the grant was especially helpful "in these difficult times [when] every penny counts.''
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