CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA SECURES

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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE

June 26, 2001

ANOTHER FIRE TRUCK FOR AMERICAN SAMOA WITH
NO COST TO THE TERRITORY

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega is pleased to announce that he has secured another fire truck for American Samoa with no cost to the Territory.

"For the past seven months, I have been working with the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service to address the immediate public safety needs of our Territory," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"In November of last year, I was informed that the entire Western District of American Samoa was without fire trucks. In January 2001, I learned that the LBJ Hospital was cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for several Life Safety Code Violations because it did not have the ability to protect its staff and patients from fire. In a letter to the Governor, the agency pointed out that corrective action could be accomplished by directing the local fire department to respond in an adequate manner. However, it was noted that the local fire department would require additional equipment, manpower, and training to combat a fire in a structure of this size

"Although these matters fall within the purview of the local government, I am thankful that these public safety issues were brought to my attention so that I could expedite federal assistance," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"I am also pleased that the Department of the Interior has favorably responded to my request for emergency funding to address our fire protection needs. Through the assistance of the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, we have been able to secure a refurbished, 750 gallon capacity fire truck. The truck is practically new, with only 22,000 miles."

"I’ve been told that it would cost approximately $200,000 to purchase this truck new," Congressman Faleomavaega said. "I’ve also been assured that this fire truck is perfect for the Territory. In fact, Dennis Orbus and Rusty Witwer of the Fire and Aviation Management Division of the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Southwest Region checked out several vehicles over the course of the past seven months before informing me of this one."

"As I have noted before, the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service includes California, Hawai‘i, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the CNMI, Guam, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"Many of these areas are also in need of fire equipment and vehicles. We are fortunate that we have been able to obtain three fire trucks in the past several months that have less than 30,000 miles per vehicle. If we were to fix a dollar amount to the new purchase price of these vehicles, we could easily say that the Territory has received more than $400,000 worth of fire trucks and equipment as a result of this emergency funding initiative."

"I am pleased that our latest acquisition will be shipped in approximately two months," the Congressman said.

"The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to assist with the maintenance and has been generous enough to fit the truck with some additional equipment that will serve us well."

The Pacific Southwest Region is also responsible for disbursing U.S. Forest Service grant funds to qualifying fire departments. Grant funds can be used for training, salaries, and equipment.

"It is my understanding that our local fire department used its most recent U.S. Forest Service disbursement to purchase the refurbished fire truck now housed at the Fagatogo fire station. Now that the Fagatogo station is equipped, I am hopeful that the 750 gallon truck I am sending to the Territory, with no cost to ASG, will be placed at the station in Tafuna," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"I am also hopeful that the two model 41s I recently secured can now be placed in the outlying villages to ensure the safety of those who live in our more rural areas."

"I want to thank the Pacific Southwest Region and the Department of the Interior for their assistance in this public safety effort. I also want to thank our Commissioner of Public Safety, High Chief Tuiteleapaga Ioane Fue. Despite ASG’s financial difficulties, I firmly believe that the people of this Territory deserve an immediate infrastructure of safety," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

"I am hopeful that the three trucks we have been able to secure with no cost to the Territory will provide a base of security and safety for our people. If other federal assistance is needed, I am always available and committed to assisting ASG in its efforts to address the local needs of this Territory."

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