Maine First Responders Worry Drop in Funding will Hurt Preparedness - News - @ JEMS.com


Maine First Responders Worry Drop in Funding will Hurt Preparedness

On the contrary: A homeland security expert says there's no evidence that the money has improved local departments' ability to respond to disasters


 
 

JONATHAN RISKIND, Portland Press Herald | | Monday, September 12, 2011


PORTLAND, Maine -- Throughout Maine, fire and police chiefs say federal money has given them the means to better deal with disaster -- and resources to help other communities in and out of Maine.

They worry that the job will get harder as federal homeland security funding for states and communities declines.

''No one is big enough to handle every incident that comes along,'' said Jeffrey Cammack, Bangor's fire chief and the president of the Maine Fire Chiefs Association. ''We are all going to need help. Municipal officials are reluctant to build excess into the system. But they are willing to build it in if it is in partnership with the federal government.''

James Carafano, a homeland security expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., said there's no evidence that the money has done much to shore up the nation's security, or measurably improved local departments' ability to respond to disasters.

For instance, an analysis of safety records for dealing with fires and saving lives showed no real difference between cities that received federal firefighting grants and cities that didn't, Carafano said.

Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette said his department has received three grants from the program, totaling nearly $100,000, for fire safety education programs in schools and senior citizens' complexes, and for a large-diameter fire hose.

It was training and equipment that Augusta's department would not have received, with tax dollars limited, Audette said.

''I am worried that the funding is going to continue to subside,'' he said. ''I feel like we have made tremendous improvements in our ability to respond'' to events such as Tropical Storm Irene and to everyday emergencies.

In Waterville, $298,500 in federal money was used three years ago to buy a new fire truck that the city couldn't afford otherwise, said Fire Chief David LaFountain.

He said one fire truck that stopped working recently has not been replaced, and another is in the shop for repairs, leaving just one truck in service - the one purchased with federal funds.

To pay for equipment that helps rescuers find trapped firefighters, Waterville now is pursuing a grant as part of a regional consortium, rather than applying as one small city competing against hundreds of cities nationwide.

''Competition (for federal grants) is up and money is down,'' LaFountain said.

The Bath Police Department's responsibilities include safeguarding Bath Iron Works, which builds Navy ships. The relatively small amount of homeland security money that has gone to the city over the years is declining.

Bath police have received about $96,000 since Sept. 11, some of that in a multijurisdictional grant in 2009 that put Bath and nearby communities on a common communications platform.

A specially equipped Chevrolet Tahoe, portable road barricades and a trailer could not have been bought without a $52,400 federal grant in 2005. The department uses them ''constantly at Bath Iron Works, mostly for (ship) christenings and other major events,'' said Police Chief Michael Field

While the barriers will last a while, the vehicle has a limited lifespan and Field said he doubts it can be replaced through the department's capital budget.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, funding, disaster preparedness

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Car Strikes Manhattan Pedestrians

Seven people hurt when car jumps curb.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >