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$4.1M grant helps Mass. FD with staffing, equipment

A SAFER grant will help the Haverhill Fire Department will fund a new ladder truck and increase staffing


Haverhill Fire Department/Facebook

By Monica Sager
The Eagle-Tribune

HAVERHILL, Mass. — The city is about to get a lot safer, as the fire department received a check for over $4.1 million for more staff and equipment.

U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D- Westford, joined Mayor-elect Melinda Barrett and state and local representatives to announce the $4.1 million in federal funding Haverhill received through the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

“It is all overdue to the Haverhill Fire Department,” Trahan said. “It’s making sure that the firefighters have what they need to make our communities safe.”

The grant is designed to directly fund fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest to increase the number of trained, frontline firefighters over the course of three years.

The Haverhill Firefighters Grant Writing Team was composed of firefighters, including Capt. Richard Shellene and grant writers Brian Ray, James Bizeur, Michael Foustoukos, Ryan Fairbanks, and Timothy Carroll, union president.

“Everybody has worked very hard for this,” said Chief Robert O’Brien. “That group did a fantastic job. This is something they’ve been working on for a couple of years.”

Trahan thanked her peers in the state delegation who were present as well, state Reps. Ryan Hamilton, Pavel Payano and Andy Vargas.

Payano noted how firefighters work for the community beyond just extinguishing flames. He spoke of his father’s heart attack and how firefighters were the first on the scene.

City Council president Tim Jordan also called the federal funding a way for the department to “take it to a new level.”

The grant will fund a new ladder truck and staff at the Bradford Fire Station, at 486 S. Main St.

The new ladder truck will allow for faster response times, especially with the plans to replace the Basiliere Bridge starting in 2025.

Trahan said she is excited to come back around June to see the new truck.

Haverhill will also use the federal monies to pay 16 new firefighters.

“Proper staffing increases our ability to keep the public safe,” O’Brien said.

The salaries and benefits of the new positions will be completely covered by the federal government for three years, according to the fire department.

“When you all make the decision to serve your community as a firefighter, you know what it requires,” Trahan said. “You put your lives on the line each day to make sure that every single person in this community is safe and secure, and we are grateful. The least we can do is to make sure you have the resources for you to do your job.”

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