Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



October 26, 2022

Senator Needleman Joins Congressman Courtney To Tour Chester Fire Dept., Highlight Important Grant For First Responders

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (D-02), State Representative Christine Palm (D-Chester) and Chester First Selectwoman Charlene Janecek at the Chester Fire Department to tour the facilities, discuss the importance of a recent federal grant supporting first responders and discuss how legislators can continue to provide aid and resources to firefighters and first responders.

In September, Rep. Courtney announced that the Chester Fire Department was one of five Connecticut departments to receive an Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. The Chester Hose Company will receive $127,428.57, which will support the purchase of Firefighter Breathing Apparatuses, important equipment that protects firefighters from toxic gases and harmful particles that can result from fires.

“Federal ‘Assistance to Firefighters’ grants are an important source of funding for our firefighters across eastern Connecticut,” said Rep. Courtney. “I’m always happy to help our local departments go after these sorts of opportunities, and this new round of federal funding is going to go a long way for our firefighters in Chester. There are too many fire departments using outdated equipment that can hinder or threaten the safety of our first responders, and replacing it can often be a real challenge for our towns’ local budgets. This new AFG award is going to help Chester’s firefighters stay safe and protected, providing them with the resources they need to purchase new breathing apparatuses and protective gear, and with better assurance when they head out for a call. Very glad to see this funding continue to support our firefighters.”

“When firefighters selflessly head into a blaze to save lives and extinguish flames, they aren’t just at risk from heat, fire and smoke. Many fires see household products lit ablaze that can release toxic gas into the air,” said Sen. Needleman. “It’s reassuring to know that our first responders will be able to breathe a little easier – literally – with the new equipment this grant will provide them. They’ll be able to do their jobs more effectively with less risk to themselves. I’m grateful to Rep. Courtney and our federal delegation for their support of our first responders.”

“The grant is huge for us because we’ve had equipment out of compliance. This helps not only us, keeping firefighters really safe and giving them the best equipment possible, but it helps the town of Chester because it does not need to pay the cost of equipment replacements,” said Chester Fire Chief James Grzybowski.

“These grants will go a long way to replace outdated equipment and protect our firefighters from harm while they’re on the job,” said Rep. Palm. “They represent an opportunity for Chester to replenish its equipment without using municipal funds, aiding not just the Fire Department but the town itself. Many thanks to Rep. Courtney and his federal colleagues for their continued support for our communities.”

“It is reassuring to know our first responders will be able to upgrade their equipment and reduce some of the risks they face on the job,” said First Selectwoman Janecek. “I’m grateful to our elected officials for supporting our communities and helping us acquire key grants.”