HARTFORD – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Congressman John Larson (D-1) today joined the South Manchester Fire Department in announcing the award of a $124,085 Operations and Safety grant, part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

The grant will be used for advanced vehicle and machine rescue training. In 2008, the majority of South Manchester firefighters completed training for challenging and dangerous rescues, including wooded terrain, embankments, trenches, confined spaces, vehicles, and water rescues. The 48-hour course includes training in rescue management, rope-rescue equipment, lowering and hauling systems, and maintenance of rescue equipment. The grant will support specialized training to ensure that all department firefighters are certified to perform rescue operations involving vehicles and machinery. 

Firefighters deserve the utmost gratitude and support for the heroic work they perform each day in challenging and dangerous situations.  Beyond entering burning buildings, firefighters and first responders are asked to perform challenging rescues on a routine basis, putting their lives at risk to save ours.  This grant is a lifesaving investment in the safety of not only our residents, but our first responders,” Blumenthal, Murphy and Larson stated.

 “This advanced level of training for our firefighters would have been impossible without funding provided by the Assistance to Fire Fighters grant program.  Manchester is truly grateful to the efforts of Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Chris Murphy and Congressman John Larson to assure us of this funding. We applaud that our Washington representatives are enormous supporters of first responders and the Assistance to Firefighters program,” Fire Chief Robert Bycholski said.

This is the seventh Assistance to Firefighters Grant awarded in Connecticut in Fiscal Year 2013. Earlier this month Middletown was awarded $1.14 million to hire eight additional firefighters. Waterbury received $2.9 million to hire new fire recruits. Norwalk, Torrington, Southington and Waterbury also received grants to support operations and safety measures.