Local fire, police departments receive grants for COVID-19 relief

Sept. 10, 2020 | Miasha Lee

AGAWAM – The East Longmeadow Fire and Police Department as well as the Agawam Fire Department received grants through the federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF) to help further aid the services necessary to local and statewide response to COVID-19.

The funding will assist agencies with outfitting staff with personal protective gear, purchasing deep cleaning sanitation equipment for correctional facilities and academies, utilizing video technology to conduct hearings remotely and obtaining materials to reconfigure office space to enhance social distancing and protect essential workers.

Eligible districts were invited to request up to $50,000 in total funding to benefit their police and/or fire department needs. In total, 65 fire departments and 44 police departments representing 94 cities and towns will directly benefit from the CESF awards.

The East Longmeadow Fire Department received $23,879.91 for overtime and personal protective equipment.  

Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Paul J. Morrissette said, “I am pleased the department was considered and awarded this funding from the federal supplemental program.”     Morrissette went on to say, “Our plan is to supply our members with plenty of personal protective equipment and follow the latest guidance to ensure they are protected and provide the best EMS service to the residents of East Longmeadow.”

The Agawam Fire Department received $17,883.63 for nine laptops and nine webcams.

“The Agawam Fire Department is thankful for receiving the much needed CESF grant funds,” said Fire Chief Alan Sirois. “Maintaining resiliency and progressive planning allowed our agency to be very successful as we made our way through the April COVID 19 surge in our area.”

He continued, “The equipment will provide support and give our staff the ability to work remotely if necessary, supporting essential operations for the community. Further, it will allow our agency to better leverage web conferencing and remote training opportunities reducing responder exposure.”

The East Longmeadow Police Department received $4,084.97 for overtime, spray bottles, medical gloves, cloth-like rags and professional cleaning services.

“We’re ecstatic,” Chief Jeffrey Dalessio replied. “It’s nice to have received the funds that the coronavirus is unfortunately putting a strain on certain financial issues in the town especially when it comes to public safety. This money will go towards future issues with coronavirus and combating its effects.”

The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program is administered through the US Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance. The funds are issued by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS)’s Office of Grants and Research, which is part of the Baker–Polito Administration.

Operating under EOPSS, the Office of Grants and Research provided an application that allowed agencies to describe needs, make specific requests, explain how the requested items or monies would help meet their needs, and layout a budget.

“These awards to municipal departments and state agencies across the Commonwealth demonstrate our commitment to providing our police officers, firefighters, and other public safety personnel with the necessary tools to effectively serve their communities while continuing to fight a pandemic,” said Gov. Charlie Baker through a press release from the EOPSS.

The EOPSS grant guidance instructed applicants to apply for funds to address a department’s unmet needs with respect to preventing, preparing and responding to COVID.

Applications were reviewed by EOPSS to ensure compliance with grant requirements.

“These grants will help aid local municipalities to purchase the additional safeguards necessary to protect our frontline workers against COVID-19,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito through a press release from the EOPSS. “Massachusetts has made great strides in slowing the spread of this virus, and we will continue to support our local heroes with the resources they need to protect themselves and their communities.”

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