Welcome to the final installment of our data storytelling series. If you missed part one or part two, please review them whenever it’s convenient for ...
In a dream world, if money were no object, how would you improve your community?
It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves, whether we consciously realize it or not.
When we first met with Connecticut’s Waterford Fire Department, they were part of a pilot program for CRAIG 1300™. Their mission was twofold: first, to improve the way that they shared information about their community. Secondly, they wanted an easier way to share community risk reduction (CRR) details internally with key department stakeholders.
After experiencing the CRAIG 1300™ PRO dashboard firsthand, the Waterford Fire Department realized that this tool was exactly what they needed. With CRAIG 1300™ PRO, they could publicly share community data in a completely transparent way, and department stakeholders could easily review data and make strategic decisions about CRR programs. It was a positive investment for the town of Waterford and its public safety division. They dove in and built a CRAIG 1300™ PRO dashboard to meet their goals.
Fast forward a little bit. In January of 2022, we met with the Waterford Fire Department again to discuss a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant opportunity with CRAIG 1300™. For fire departments especially, having state-of-the art equipment, emergency vehicles and the best training often comes with a hefty price tag.
Federal grants, like the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFGs), provided by FEMA, offer resources to train and equip emergency responders to support their communities and increase operational efficiencies. These grants are typically awarded to fire departments, emergency medical services organizations and state fire training academies, according to FEMA.
The Waterford Fire Department realized that there were inconsistencies in their personnel training and equipment, which stemmed from the consolidation of five separate fire companies in 2019. This affected several groups that the department protects in Waterford. They act as first responders for the Millstone Nuclear Power Generation facility, and help in the protection of several critical infrastructures, including the DoD Naval Sub Base and General Dynamics Electric Boat. And of course, the department serves and protects the people and the town of Waterford.
“The Waterford Fire Department provides services to 20,000 residents and a projected additional 1,800 residents followed planned housing developments,” explains Kathleen Peterson, a Fire and Life Safety Educator for the Waterford Fire Department.
All of these factors led the Waterford Fire Department to apply for the FY 2021 AFG, under the program area of Operations and Safety: Training and Equipment for Confined Space Rescue. They believed that access to AFG funding could support access to quality equipment and training, so that Waterford fire personnel could more effectively respond to emergencies in their town. Additionally, the grant funding would allow the department to offer a six day “Confined Space and Rescue” course that meets National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, ensuring that all personnel are trained at national regulations, Kathleen shares.
Pictured from left to right: Kathleen Peterson, Fire and Life Safety Educator; Chief Michael Howley, Director of Fire Services and Linda Finnegan, Fire Services Office Manager.
The team that worked on the AFG Grant proposal included Chief Michael Howley, Director of Fire Services, Linda Finnegan, Fire Services Office Manager, and Kathleen. As they applied for the grant, Kathleen says “the CRAIG 1300™ Dashboard was a monumental help in gathering information on Waterford’s critical infrastructure and community description.”
Often, the application process can be time-consuming and tedious. But thankfully, CRAIG 1300™ makes things easier.
“The information provided by the CRAIG 1300™ insight generator was invaluable,” says Kathleen. “It saved our staff time in writing the application narratives for community characteristics and trends so we could concentrate our energies on our project description and associated details.”
On September 9, 2022, our friends at the Waterford Fire Department were awarded a 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) grant to the tune of $91,392. Chief Howley, Linda and Kathleen were ecstatic. This is the first time the department has received federal funding, despite applying for grants in the past.
“This is our first federal grant success and with CRAIG 1300™, we anticipate it won’t be the last!” Kathleen says.
Ready to discover what CRAIG 1300™ can do for your community? Learn more at the button below.
Allison is the Communications Manager at mySidewalk. As part of the marketing team, she blends her magazine writing skills, marketing experience and passion for people to shape content and drive customer stories. She also oversees the public relations division at mySidewalk. Allison received her Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, biking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
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