HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Fire Department has received a federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide for sanitary products such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other forms of Personal Protective Equipment.
The grant, totaling $7,157, is one of several grants awarded by FEMA to fire departments across Maine to provide extra gear amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Known as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), it is regularly given out to fire departments to provide funding for things like equipment and pumper trucks.
This year, AFG received additional money through the federal CARES act to provide PPE needed to help prevent the spread of the virus which has already claimed more than 175,000 lives in the United States. The result was a supplementary program, AFG-S, which is where the recent money received by Houlton Fire Department came from.
“We submitted for immediate use and for future use, and got everything we asked for,” said Nancy Ketch, the community development director for the town of Houlton. “It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s a big help.”
She also said that in addition to the supplementary program, Houlton Fire Department is also seeking money from the regular AFG program for 35 sets of turnout gear, which includes hats, coats and boots worn while extinguishing fires.
The total amount of federal money given to fire departments across the state totaled $1.3 million. The announcement was made Thursday, Aug. 20, by Maine’s two U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King.
“Firefighters and fire support staff put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint press release statement. “This important investment will ensure that our Maine fire departments have the necessary equipment and personnel to continue to keep our families and communities safe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”