BANGOR, Maine — Although state and federal funding may be shrinking in the tight economy, Bangor’s emergency services departments have secured more than $300,000 in federal grants.
The grants — one in the amount of $141,314 from the State Homeland Security Program, one for $110,194 from the Law Enforcement Terrorism Program, and one for $54,900 from the Assistance to Firefighters program — will be used for various emergency services in Bangor and Orono.
The two largest amounts did not require grant proposals as they come automatically from a statewide grant that Maine apportions to its largest cities’ fire and police departments.
The other one resulted from a proposal written by Capt. Tom Higgins to fund a project to install an automated fire alarm system at the 35-year-old Central Fire Station.
“Their fundraising has been lauded again and again by the council,” Bangor City Councilor and Mayor Cary Weston said of the Bangor Fire Department. “They’ve been proactively looking for opportunities the last few years. It’s a blessing to have people on staff who recognize the need and benefits for securing outside funding and revenue in these times.”
According to Bangor Fire Chief Jeff Cammack, the station will be outfitted with integrated smoke and heat detectors which will be linked to Bangor’s dispatch center. The project, which will cost $61,000 total, will bring Central up to code.
“It’ll be the last of our three stations to have that done. We just had sprinkler systems added from a previous grant,” said Cammack, who has been chief for nearly 16 of his 32 years as a firefighter.
Grant funding has been a boon for Bangor.
“We’re the only department in the country we’re aware of that has been able to secure grant money to pay for three pieces of equipment over the last 10 years,” Cammack said. “Quite frankly, it pays for things that normally wouldn’t be budgeted due to the constraints the city’s been under lately.”
The grant money is expected to be approved soon by the Bangor City Council.
“Those are pretty much rubber-stamped as far as our approval goes,” said Weston.
The combined Homeland Security grant money will be distributed as follows:
- $86,008 — Audio-visual computer network for classes and clinics and hydrant mapping for vehicle GPS systems.
- $55,000 — police Explosive Ordnance Team and Special Response Team, fire Technical Rescue Team, and Bangor’s mobile command truck equipment/maintenance.
- $52,000 — funding for narrow band and digital radios.
- $35,000 — funding for new mobile data terminals on police and fire vehicles.
- $15,500 — National Information Management System Compliance training for new and promoted employees.
- $8,000 — Equipment for Penobscot County Haz-Mat Team based in Orono.