CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced $5 million in awards to 308 fire departments from the FY23 Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program.

The program provides local fire departments with different equipment that makes firefighting safer, according to a news release sent to 22News from the Department of Fire Services. This is the third year that grants have been awarded as part of a five-year, $25 million bond bill that is filed by the Administration to support firefighter safety and health.

Fire departments all across Massachusetts applied to this program for 121 different types of eligible equipment, which includes ballistic protective clothing, thermal protective clothing, gear washers, dryers, thermal imaging cameras, assorted hand tools, extrication equipment, communications resources, hazardous gas meters, fitness equipment, and more.

The list of awards by the department is listed below:

“We ask so much of our firefighters, and no matter how dangerous or difficult the situation, they always do whatever it takes to help,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This program is an opportunity to make sure they are properly protected every time they answer a call for help.”

“The decision to become a firefighter is one of the bravest, most selfless choices a person can make,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am so thankful to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to this calling. In every city and town, these heroes drop what they’re doing and rush to help – even when it puts them in harm’s way.”

“In today’s fire service, firefighters respond to increasingly dangerous calls. Access to the proper protective gear is critical to ensure their safety and ability to meet the modern challenges of emergency response,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy. “Firefighters have a vital role in keeping our communities safe. We are pleased to show our appreciation for their courage and service by providing funding to equip them with the appropriate level of protection.”

“We now know that the occupational cancer risk caused by cumulative exposure to toxins encountered while firefighting is as great of a danger to firefighters as fire and smoke itself,” said Undersecretary of Homeland Security Jeanne Benincasa Thorpe. “This program is an outstanding mechanism to combat that risk by ensuring that firefighters are wearing modern and properly cleaned gear every time they answer a call. The long-term benefits of this program to firefighters and their families will be truly immense.”

“Every time a firefighter goes to work, they could be asked to rescue a child from a burning building, clean up a spill of hazardous materials, treat a patient with a contagious medical condition, or rush into a hostile event to rescue and treat victims,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “This program is absolutely vital to helping fire departments prepare for the vast array of hazards they face today and making sure that firefighters go home safe after every call.”

“Three years into this program now, we’re really seeing the impact that it is making out in the field,” said Shrewsbury Fire Chief James Vuona, President of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts. “Firefighters are responding to calls with the proper protective gear and tools, which makes their jobs much safer. The firefighters of Massachusetts and their families are grateful for this investment in their health and safety.”