BUCKSPORT, Maine — The Bucksport Fire Department has been awarded a $43,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, or FIRE Act.
The funding will come through the Operations and Firefighting Safety Program, which funds training, equipment, wellness and fitness and modifications to the department’s facilities.
The Bucksport department will use the funds, which total $43,216, to purchase emergency equipment for the department’s ambulance service, including a defibrillator, according to Bucksport Fire Chief Craig Bowden.
Bucksport is one of five Maine departments to receive funding through the 2008 grant program. This is the fourth year in the past five that the department has submitted grant proposals that have been approved for funding, Bowden said.
In all, Homeland Security awarded $182,078 in grant funds to five Maine departments through the 2008 FIRE Act program. In addition to Bucksport, the Chebeague Island Fire Department will receive $57,159; the Saco Fire Department, $26,220; the Kittery Fire Department, $11,068; and Lisbon Emergency Inc., $45,315.
Last year, the Bucksport department received a $70,000 grant to install a ventilation-exhaust system at the Public Safety Building to remove engine exhaust and other harmful fumes from the fire station and the rest of the building. Last week, town councilors approved the expenditure of about $50,000 of the funds to purchase and install that system.
According to Bowden, the remaining funds can be used to enhance that project or to develop education and prevention programs for the town.
“We’d have to amend the grant proposal if we did that,” he said.
In past years, the department has used funds from the grant program to purchase a new minipumper and rescue equipment including thermal imaging cameras.
The Bucksport department also has received two other grants recently: an $18,500 grant from the Homeland Security EMA grant program that will be used for emergency communication equipment, and a $1,900 safety grant from the Maine Municipal Association that will be used to install automatic ice chains on the department’s ambulance.