SHELTON — City fire and emergency medical services personnel received some high praise from two of the state’s highest representatives last week.

U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, and Jim Himes, D-4, after a press conference only blocks away at Rotary Pavilion, visited Echo Hose Fire House to offer praise to city firefighters and emergency medical services personnel for their efforts in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked down countless trees, blocked dozens of roads and left thousands without power in the city.

“We are grateful for the support of our entire Shelton community, as well as our city, state and government officials for their support during this global pandemic and the recent large scale incidents that have hit our area,” Echo Hose Ambulance Assistant Chief Joe Laucella said.

“We would like to thank Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congressman Jim Himes for stopping by to visit and honor our crews for their hard work and dedication to our patients and the entire community,” Laucella added.

Fire Chief Francis T. Jones echoed Laucella’s comments, adding that he appreciated the pair visiting and speaking “directly to the membership to obtain firsthand knowledge of best practices and resources needed to keep our communities and the first responders safe and well equipped.

“Today’s fire service requires an all hazard response team,” Jones added. “As a team the Shelton Fire Department and Echo Hose Ambulance responds to fires, rescues, hazardous materials incidents, technical situations, natural disasters, and now pandemics. As we do each and every day our combined emergency services shall continue to meet these challenges to assist our community by the support of our elected local, state and federal leadership all working together to support America’s fist responders of fire, EMS and police.”

The congressmen also discussed the Shelton Fire Department recently receiving $34,712.73 of the $7.8 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency direct assistance grants.

The fire grants will provide personal protective equipment consisting of gloves, N-95 masks, surgical masks, PAPA respirators, reusable gowns, and the disinfectant equipment/ station decontamination sprayers.

All the items will be shared between the Echo Hose Ambulance and Shelton Fire Department.

“During this pandemic, our crews continue to work tirelessly, without hesitation, to provide exceptional pre-hospital care to hundreds of patients each month,” Laucella said. “The PPE grant will help us to continue to provide a safer response for our EMS professionals and all those that we provide care for in the immediate and distant future.”

Jones said the funds will “help to ensure that our 256 volunteer firefighters of the Shelton Fire Department will continue to be well protected as we adapt to all challenges placed upon America’s first responders.”

In all, 340 fire departments nationwide received grants through the agency’s FY2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental program. Additional phases will soon be announced.

The Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental is a supplemental funding opportunity under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, one of three FEMA grant programs that focus on enhancing the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards.

The AFG-S Program provides financial assistance directly to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations and state fire training academies for critical Personal Protective Equipment and supplies needed to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The program represents part of a comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA awards funding for the project directly to the agencies.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com