Fire Chief Michael Sullivan
One Union St.
Wakefield, MA 01880
For Immediate Release
Friday, Aug. 24, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Wakefield Fire Department Earns Assistance Grant to Purchase New Rescue Equipment
WAKEFIELD — Chief Michael Sullivan is pleased to announce that the Wakefield Fire Department received a federal Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant to purchase tools to aid in the department’s rescue operations.
The $16,364 grant from the Department of Homeland Security will enable Wakefield Fire to purchase a set of rescue air bags, as well as five forcible entry “rabbit” tools. AFG grants are competitive grants that are awarded to local fire departments to fund up to 90 percent of the cost of requested equipment and training programs.
The remaining cost of the equipment — $1,636 — will be funded through the Wakefield Fire Department’s fiscal year 2019 operating budget.
Wakefield Fire will purchase five air bags to replace its aging set. The new bags will be capable of lifting between 5.1 and 33.2 tons, and will serve as a vital tool for firefighters responding to crashes.
The five forcible entry hydraulic “rabbit” tools will be placed on each of the department’s four engine companies and its ladder truck. These new rescue tools will allow for a large number of doors to be forced open quickly and efficiently without the use of cumbersome axes and pry bars.
Wakefield Fire sought the equipment in order to be as prepared as possible to respond to emergencies that arise in a growing municipality. Construction on a significant number of large apartment and condominium complexes is currently ongoing, and an emergency requiring a rapid search of this type of building could require a large number of unit doors being forced open in a very short period of time.
Doing so could never be completed in a timely manner without the use of this new tool, which is lightweight, requires only one person to use and uses hydraulic pressure to quickly force open a door.
The tools are also an essential piece of equipment for first responders during motor vehicle crashes, which is a top priority for the department given that I-95 passes through town and creates the possibility for large chain-reaction crashes that could require significant rescue operations to take place simultaneously.
“These tools will be an important addition to the department’s inventory and will allow our firefighters to better respond to a variety of emergency situations,” Chief Sullivan said. “The town’s growth, as well as its placement along a busy highway, require that we be as prepared as we can to help as many people as possible in a short period of time.”
AFG grants have become a vital funding source for the department, helping to defray the cost for important equipment upgrades, including firefighter protective gear and radios. The air bags and hydraulic rescue tools have been ordered and are anticipated to be in service by November.