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Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency supports the Block Island Ferry with federal grant for new equipment

External Affairs Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency


July 19, 2017

Press Release

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency supports the Block Island Ferry with federal grant for new equipment

SUPPORT CRANSTON, RI Last week, the Block Island Ferry acquired new medical equipment as a result of a $13,250 grant from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA).

Director of Security for Interstate Navigation, Bill McCombe, requested grant funds through RIEMA to deploy emergency medical equipment aboard the ferry system.

The "Vessel Ready Response" grant outfitted the M/V Anna C, M/V Block Island, M/V Athena High Speed, M/V Islander High Speed and M/V Carol Jean ferries with an upgraded suite of lifesaving equipment that includes, EMT Trauma Bags, Active Assault Advance Kits, patient transport backboards, oxygen, EpiPens, and Narcan. The equipment will be available for use by first responders in the event of an emergency while the ferries are underway.

"This equipment provides the ferries with the ability to handle any number of situations. Whether it's someone suffering from a heat stroke, heart attack, trauma related incident, or a manmade event, the equipment gives first responders the ability to stabilize a varied range of patient conditions. With over 1000 passengers on any given trip, it was critically important to ensure that they had the necessary medical equipment and this grant allowed us to meet that need," said Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, Peter T. Gaynor.

The grant provides each ferry with a suite of medical equipment that is scaled and complimentary to the maximum number of passengers that the ferry can carry. After a decision was made that the Block Island Ferry would benefit from a more advanced medical equipment package, the grant request led by Director McCombe was approved by the New Shoreham Town Council before the request was sent to RIEMA and federally approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

"Working with our key partners to assist in the acquisition of lifesaving equipment demonstrates the effectiveness of interagency communication in the State of Rhode Island. The entire process happened quickly, from the time the grant request was submitted by Director McCombe to when the new medical equipment was in the hands of the Block Island Ferry. All our key partners at the state and federal level understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of our lifesaving equipment. At the end of the day, the number one priority of all organizations involved is the safety of the citizenry," said Gaynor.

Ferry security operations in Rhode Island's waters falls under the area of responsibility of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Southeastern New England. The USCG monitors and responds to threats to the safety and security of the United States in its waterways, coastal regions, and ports. They are equipped to respond to issues of law enforcement, active terror activities, and threats to the health and wellbeing of boaters. Each USCG vessel has trained first responders that are familiar with the full suite of medical equipment available to the ferries.

"The Coast Guard appreciates this forward-thinking effort to improve emergency response in our robust maritime transportation system. The safety of the public remains the highest priority for our boat crews and security teams, and this lifesaving equipment aboard the ferries provides a tremendous benefit should the Coast Guard need to respond to a serious passenger or crew injury or in the event of a mass rescue operation where many people could require triage for life threatening injuries," said USCG Sector Southeastern New England Commander, Capt. Richard J. Schultz.

RIEMA promotes readiness and actively engages in supporting the municipalities and infrastructure in Rhode Island. RIEMA's primary objective is to reduce the loss of life and property for the whole community while ensuring that as a State we work together to build, sustain, and improve on our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all natural, human-caused, and technological hazards.

To find out more information on how you can prepare for emergency events, please visit

Contacts: Daniel Starr, RIEMA (401) 536-5248 (401) 462-7063 PR: 17-4


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