Chief Daniel Doucette pleased to announce that the Essex, Topsfield, and Middleton Fire Departments were notified of the awarding of a Federal “Assistance to Firefighters Grant” (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) totaling in the amount of $429,715.00 to be split between the three communities. This regional grant was written by Topsfield Fire Chief Jennifer Collins-Brown and Lt. Conor Brown largely, with specific input from Essex Fire Chief Daniel Doucette and Middleton Fire Chief Thomas Martinuk , as well as their command staff. The purpose of this grant is to supply funds for each town to purchase updated and modernized portable radios. These radios will be capable of being programmed with up to three different types of radio frequency bands, which will improve interoperability with other public safety agencies. With the award of this grant, firefighters will no longer have to search out the correct portable radio when going to a mutual aid emergency; every radio will have the capability to use any city or town’s frequency. In addition, the new radios are intrinsically rated to not cause an explosion when used in an explosive atmosphere like gas leaks, water resistant, ruggedly built, with an adaptive audio engine that filters out background noise so messages are transmitted and received more clearly. The radio also has an emergency button will send an alert to other fire personnel and dispatchers when a firefighter is in distress. Essex will receive $143,238.00 of Federal money with only a 5% match from the Town. Chief Doucette thanks the community and Town Administration from all 3 communities for supporting this grant. As a small community with limited funding sources, the Essex Fire Department is always working to improve its capabilities, particularly through creative funding opportunities like the AFG grant process. Also a special thank you goes out to Gloucester Fire Lieutenant Nick Ouellette, who assisted in the grant application process. These radios will be a game-changing addition to the mission of the Essex Fire Department, as a reliable means to communicate in emergencies with an ergonomic design, making its use easy under stressful scenarios, with all the modern capabilities to help keep our members operating safely in any situation. The Essex Fire Department looks forward to working with the Topsfield and Middleton Fire Departments as well as our partners at the North Shore Regional 911 Center in the roll-out and implementation of the new equipment as soon as possible.