July 08, 2014

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $500,000 For Capital Region Fire Departments

Federal Funding For Fire Departments In Columbia, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Washington and Schenectady Counties

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced nearly $500,000 in federal funding for Capital Region fire departments. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. 

“These much-needed federal funds will help six Capital Region fire departments invest in the equipment and training they need to do their jobs effectively and save lives,” said Senator Schumer. “Making sure the brave men and women that serve in our fire departments have the resources they need has always been a top priority of mine. Our first responders are our local heroes and primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. That is why it is absolutely crucial that we provide them with the cutting-edge resources and equipment they need to continue their important, life-saving work.”

“These are important investments for the Capital Region,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When our first responders go into harm’s way, we need to make sure they have the most up-to-date equipment to save lives and protect themselves. This funding will provide the tools these first responders need to better serve their communities and keep families safe.”

Schenectady Permanent Firemen’s Association will receive $317,369 in federal funding and will use it to purchase 48 new self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) to replace the current tanks that are more than 11 years old. Along with providing emergency services they conduct CPR classes, teach fire safety procedures in schools and encourage civic duty within the community.

“I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their work in bringing this much needed federal aid to Schenectady,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

“This is an absolute essential piece of equipment and we really appreciate the funding,” said Raymond Senecal, Chief Schenectady Permanent Firemen’s Association.

Speigletown Fire Company in Rensselaer County will receive $50,730 in federal funding to purchase new rescue and extrication tools to replace the outdated and obsolete tools they currently carry. The fire company is made up of 35 active members who include trained emergency medical technicians, firefighters, safety officers and fire police.

“We are proud to acknowledge the receipt of the 2013 AFG grant for $50,730.00," said Speigletown Fire Chief Bill Maloney. "Speigletown Fire is working hard to take advantage of all options out there to make purchases that benefit our communities in the best way possible."

Hebron Volunteer Fire Company in Washington County will receive $23,655 in federal funds to replace over 1,500 feet of hoses. Their current hose is more than 25 years old and no longer meets the proper testing requirements. All Hebron Volunteer Fire Company first responders are licensed emergency medical technicians.  

“We operate two stations on only $60,000 a year. We buy used trucks and can’t afford to do it all,” said George Flint, Chief of the Hebron Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.

Stuyvesant Falls Fire District in Columbia County will receive $38,000 in federal funding to purchase a new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) compressor system, which is used to fill firefighters’ breathing apparatuses. These SCBA air-packs help firefighters breathe when in burning buildings and hazardous environments.

“The funds will be used for a breathing air compressor, which is a compressor that refills the air tanks that the firefighters wear when they go into fires. Up to this point the department has had to go to neighboring departments to borrow their equipment to fill their cylinders,” said Ben Webster, Chief of the Stuyvesant Falls Fire Department. “With the funding we’ll be able to refill our cylinders and help other neighboring departments also refill theirs when needed.”

Oppenheim Volunteer Fire Department in Montgomery County will receive $56,905 in federal funding to purchase new extrication equipment to save more people who are trapped in vehicles.  The new rescue tools will include cutters and spreaders to better extract people from vehicles as well as stabilization struts, to help stabilize vehicles in emergency situations.

Central Bridge Fire District in Schoharie County will receive $11,714 in federal to purchase new hoses and nozzles used in fire suppression. Earlier this year, several thousand feet of hose was damaged and needed to be replaced. According to the fire department, hoses become brittle over time and begin to crack, causing small leaks. Additionally, nozzles develop mineral build up from water, particularly in Upstate New York, where water in hydrants may come from wells and ponds. 

More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.