AMESBURY – The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently awarded the Amesbury and Salisbury fire departments a $227,316 grant, a large sum that ensures firefighters from both departments receive the best emergency vehicle and safety training. 

The money comes from a pool of $33.6 million in direct federal assistance grants awarded to 166 fire departments nationwide through the agency’s fiscal 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

“I’m very excited about this,” Salisbury Fire Chief Scott Carrigan said.

Awarded each year since 2001, the primary goal of the grants is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations, according to a FEMA official. 

Grant applications are submitted by each agency directly to FEMA, where the applications are reviewed and scored by fire service personnel from throughout the nation. 

Carrigan said the Amesbury/Salisbury grant was authored by Amesbury firefighter/emergency medical technician Rob Serino and was the culmination of a two-year process that included input from both departments. 

During the grant-writing process, fire officials identified training needs and came up with the following: operating fire engines and ladders, rescuing trapped firefighters and a general driving safety course, Carrigan said. 

The money comes at an ideal time for Salisbury firefighters considering the department recently purchased a new ladder truck thanks to an earlier $975,000 FEMA grant, Carrigan added. 

The grant not only covers classes but materials, instructor fees and any overtime expenses that arise as firefighters train together over the next year. Amesbury firefighters will oversee the grant money and arrange classes. 

“It a good opportunity for each department and a good opportunity for us to work together as well,” Carrigan said. 

Additional information about FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program(s) may be found at https://www.fema.gov/firegrants.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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