For Immediate Release: Chief Jenifer Collins-Brown is pleased to announce that the Topsfield, Essex, and Middleton Fire Departments were notified yesterday of the awarding of a Federal “Assistance to Firefighters Grant” (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) totaling in the amount of $429,715.00 to be split between the three communities. The grant was written by Chief Collins-Brown and Lt. Brown largely, with input specific to Essex and Middleton from Chiefs Doucette and Martinuk respectively, as well as their command staff. The purpose of this grant is to supply funds for each town to purchase updated and modernized portable radios. These radios will be capable of being programmed with up to three different types of radio frequencies, but likely only two for now and can hold dozens of frequencies within those categories. Essex County and the immediate surrounding communities in Southern New Hampshire and bordering Middlesex County have many different departments, each on having their own frequency. Some communities use Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios, while others use Very High Frequency (VHF) radios, the challenge at an emergency scene is that UHF channels cannot speak on VHF frequencies and vice versa. Firefighters operating with mutual aid departments may not be able to communicate with each other or the command post because their radio could not work on the same frequency. This lead firefighters to have to work from a small cache of obsolete radios over 20 years old that are not able to be serviced or repaired anymore due to their age. Since 1999 when 6 members of the Worcester Fire Department were killed in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, radio communications have been recognized as an essential aspect of firefighter safety, with the goal being that every person operating at an emergency scene having a means to communicate if they are injured or need help. With the award of this grant, firefighter in Topsfield, Essex, and Middleton will no longer have to search out the correct portable radio when going to a mutual aid emergency, every radio will have the capability to use any city or town’s frequency. In addition, the new radios are intrinsically rated to not cause an explosion when used in an explosive atmosphere like gas leaks, water resistant, ruggedly built, with an adaptive audio engine that filters out background noise so messages are transmitted and received more clearly. Topsfield will receive $143,238.00 of Federal money with only a 5% match from the Town. Chief Collins-Brown thanks the community and Town Administration from all 3 communities for approving the application for this grant, as a small community with limited funding sources, the Topsfield Fire Department is always working to improve it’s capabilities, particularly through creative funding opportunities like the AFG grant process. Also a special thank you goes out to Gloucester Fire Lieutenant Nick Ouellette, who assisted in the grant application process. These radios will be a game-changing addition to the mission of the Topsfield Fire Department, as a reliable means to communicate in emergencies with an ergonomic design, making it’s use easy under stressful scenarios, with all the modern capabilities to help keep our members operating safely in any situation. TFD looks forward to working with the Essex and Middleton Fire Departments as well as our partners at the North Shore Regional 911 Center in the roll-out and implementation of the new equipment as soon as possible.
You are here: / / Topsfield Fire Receives Part of Regional Federal Grant