BREWER, Maine — The Fire Department soon will have two new pieces of electronic equipment for its ambulance, thanks to funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, or the FIRE Act.
“We applied for a grant to get a power stretcher for the ambulance,” Fire Chief Gary Parent said Tuesday. “You just push a button and it goes up instead of these guys breaking their backs.”
The Brewer Fire Department will receive $26,900 in FIRE Act funds and is one of three in the state to get such a grant, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement Monday. Fire departments in Berwick and Readfield also got funding.
In addition to the power stretcher, the Brewer Fire Department will purchase an electric stair chairlift that transports patients up or down stairs, Parent said.
“We use it when we can’t get a stretcher down [or up] the stairs,” he said. The patients “sit upright in the chair, then we transfer them to a stretcher. It’s a safer mode of transportation.”
The Berwick Fire Department was awarded $58,765, and the Readfield Fire Department got a $67,180 grant, according to Collins, who said she strongly supported the creation of the FIRE Act grant program.
“Our career and volunteer firefighters are among our bravest public servants,” she said. “The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is an extremely critical source of funds for our fire and rescue personnel.”