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Upton Fire Department Recipient of Two Grants Totaling Nearly $100,000

The Upton Fire/EMS Department recently learned it received two grants; one administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for $1,900 and the other from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA's) Assistance to Firefighter Grants program totaling $94,700.

During a September 17 Board of Selectmen's meeting, Upton Fire Chief Mark DiFronzo came before the Board

to discuss the 2018 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant that is administered by the DCR.

The program is funded though the United States Department of Agricultural Forest Fire Service in conjunction with the Cooperative Fire Protection Program. "Our piece comes through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry," explained DiFronzo. "It happened while I wasn't even Chief of the Department. The guys took it upon themselves to apply for the grant."

The $1,900 grant funding is being used to replace the worn-out dump tank on Tanker 1 and purchase a dump tank for Tanker 2 along with associated equipment. According to grant guidelines, the Department must fund the full cost of the equipment and is then reimbursed 50 percent of those costs.

The total cost for everything is $3,800. As a result, DiFronzo utilized the Department's share of their costs, the other $1,900, from its Forest Fire Account.

"We're very lucky to get the grant," said the Fire Chief to the Selectmen.

The following day, DiFronzo received official word

the Department was the recipient of another grant totaling $94,700 through FEMA's Assistance to Fire Grants Program.

"The money will pay for the two cardiac monitors that we've been desperately seeking for the last few years and also for a driver operator pump training program to better improve our driver operator safety," he explained.

According to a press release, Firefighter/Paramedic James Earle wrote the outline for the cardiac defibrillator/monitors. "We had put a request in last

year for this equipment and we weren't successful. This year we reworked our request and were lucky enough to be awarded this grant," he said.

Grant guidelines stipulate the Upton Fire Department must match five percent of the costs for the cardiac monitors and training program. As a result, the town will pay approximately $4,700 for more than $94,000 of equipment and training.

"This grant had a major ripple effect," said Town Manager Derek Brindisi, explaining how it now frees up funding that was needed to purchase active shooter kits for first responders.


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