GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith is pleased to announce that the Gloucester Fire Department has been awarded a $42,500 IT grant from the Community Compact Cabinet.
The grant, along with $50,000 from the City of Gloucester, will fund the purchase and implementation of a new radio system for the department.
The Community Compact Cabinet (CCC) was developed by the Baker-Polito Administration in an effort to facilitate a stronger partnership between municipalities and state government in order to support communities in efforts to improve their services. The CCC offers an IT grant program, which funds investments in technology in municipal agencies to make those organizations more efficient, cost effective and to better support communication among residents and their local government.
The new, state-of-the-art technology will transition the Gloucester Fire Department from a very high frequency (VHF) to an ultra high frequency (UHF) radio system, and will also meet Project 25 (P25) standards for public safety and first responder communication systems. As a result, first responders will have access to clearer communication and an increased range of coverage, which will better penetrate through materials such as concrete, metal and rock.
The technology, once implemented, will also transition the department to a three site simulcast system with five receivers from the current single transmit site with five receivers, allowing messages to be communicated to all geographic areas of the city clearly from multiple broadcasting sites instead of from one site.
“I’d like to thank Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and their office for providing the Community Compact IT Grant funding opportunity,” said Gloucester Fire’s Communications Officer Lt. Nick Ouellette, who wrote the proposal for the grant. “These funds allow communities to undertake IT projects whose budgets are constrained and may not have the opportunity to undertake these types of projects. I’d also like to thank Mayor Romeo Theken and her administration, the Gloucester City Council, Chief Smith and Assistant Chief Aiello for their support. Without everyone, this opportunity wouldn’t be possible.”
Lt. Ouellette also wrote the proposal for an approximately $460,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded to the department in 2017 to fund the purchase of portable radios.
“Lt. Ouellette has done an impeccable job writing grant proposals on behalf of our department, and I’d like to recognize him for those efforts,” Chief Smith said. “Clear, effective communication is critical in the fire service, and this grant will increase firefighter safety and allow us to provide a better service to our City.”
The Gloucester Fire Department aims to have the new radio system fully operational by fall 2020.