First Selectman Joseph Mazza announced that the Town of Guilford has been awarded a $337,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the purchase of a Public Safety Vessel for regional response firefighting, hazmat, rescue and dive rescue operations. This is a matching grant and the Town would be required to fund 25 percent. The new boat will replace the current vessel that is over 20 years old and has reached the end of its service life.
According to Firefighter/Paramedic John Planas, “This boat will be equipped with the latest technology, GPS mapping as well as FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Imaging System), which allows us to see boats and individuals in the water in total darkness.”
Since Guilford is a coastal town with a high amount of boating traffic, this vessel is used for many off shore rescue operations and is equipped to support the department’s regional dive team.
This piece of equipment is also instrumental in fire protection along the shoreline, where there are numerous large square footage homes and limited water supply in those areas.
Guilford’s public safety vessel is also important regionally since surrounding areas rely on it for support with maritime, fire suppression, hazmat, dive rescue, environmental and law enforcement incidents. Agencies that have utilized our marine division have included the U.S. Coast Guard, Local Law Enforcement, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Connecticut State Harbormaster and the Municipal Shellfish Regulatory Commission.
“I would like to congratulate Firefighter/Paramedic John Planas and Captain Mike Shove, in securing the grant,” said First Selectman Joseph Mazza. “This will allow us to replace our current fire boat which is over 20 years old and is not repairable.”
There is a nine month build time for this vessel so the department expects it to be in the water for the start of the next boating season.