WESTPORT, CT - Congressman Himes (CT-4) joined first responders at the Westport Fire Department today to discuss emergency preparedness and highlight how a new emergency generator will better equip them to respond to disasters. The funding will allow the purchase of a new generator that will supply standby power for the town’s emergency headquarters complex. Without the new generator, the Fire Department’s ability to maintain and receive communications from other agencies during an emergency could be significantly compromised.

“In his short time in office, Congressman Himes has already proved his dedication to supporting first responders. He is eager to hear our ideas and concerns and to provide assistance in his capacity as our Congressman and a member of the Homeland Security Committee,” said Chris Ackley, Westport Fire Chief. “Congressman Himes understands that public safety and protection are not just local but regional and national issues for which we must be prepared, and we appreciate his willingness to help tackle the challenges first responders face.”  

The Westport Fire Headquarters houses the town’s Emergency Operations Center as well as units from the Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Response Team and the Regional Communications and Command Response Unit. Following a discussion about how the new generator will improve the town’s ability to protect the community in times of emergency and disaster, Himes toured the Fire Department and Emergency Operations Center. Local officials outlined the strengths and weakness in local mitigation abilities and discussed with Himes how the federal government could provide better support.

“It is critical that we maintain top-of-the line emergency planning, response, and communications programs in order to keep us safe and secure,” said Congressman Himes. “These men and women are on the front lines, protecting us when we need it most. I appreciate the time they spent today educating me about what I can to at the federal level to assist them in their efforts.”

Congressman Himes and the Town of Westport secured $265,000 for a replacement emergency generator through the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act recently signed into law by President Obama.