Region – The classroom in the Shrewsbury Fire Department Headquarters is now being used as a storage room for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies. In January, Fire Chief Jim Vuona was paying attention to what was happening overseas and took stock of supplies at hand and began adding to it when he could.
The department will be significantly adding to its supply because it was recently awarded the 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant-Supplemental Program allocated by FEMA in the amount of $46,563.64 for emergency medical PPE and disinfection/decontamination supplies.
Vuona was notified in early July by U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren that the award was granted. Funds will be dispersed at a later date after a purchase plan is submitted.
He was quick to note that the grant was a “regional submission” with the Northborough and Westborough Fire Departments.
“The PPE will be shared and distributed between the three towns,” Vuona explained. “Shrewsbury is the lead town and will accept the award on behalf of all three towns.”
He thanked Northborough Chief David Parenti, Westborough Chief Patrick Purcell and his Deputy Chief Seth Colby and gave a special thanks to firefighter Mike Borowiec who put the grant together.
“We have tried to take a more regional approach now working with Northborough and Westborough,” Vuona said. “Their chiefs are very pro-regional as well.”
Vuona explained that majority of PPE will be distributed to Northborough and Westborough where there is greater need. Those towns run their own ambulances and often supplement Shrewsbury’s ambulance needs.
Shrewsbury has ambulance coverage through Worcester EMS. When they are unable to take a call in Shrewsbury then, through a Mutual Aid Agreement, Northborough or Westborough will provide assistance.
In addition to the grant, the towns will be receiving additional PPE from the state.
“We got a call from MEMA and they are anticipating a surge this fall,” Vuona noted. “They will be distributing PPE in advance so we will be getting on top of what we will be buying, another 21,500 KN95 masks, 21,500 surgical masks, 2,100 face shields and 300 sets of goggles.”