Ithaca, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the passage of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program Reauthorization bill at the Central Fire Station of the Ithaca Fire Department. The Ithaca Fire Department has received over $1 million in AFG and SAFER grants in the last two years.
“This bill will ensure the continuation of vitally important federal funds that our first responders rely on for the training, equipment, and staffing they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect our first responders when they risk their lives to keep us safe, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure they are given the support they deserve.”
“I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her sponsorship of the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act of 2017 and for her support of our SAFER and AFG grant applications that we have received over the past several years. The AFG grants that we received have helped fund radio communications to enhance our ability to communicate deep inside buildings; and to replace Air Breathing Equipment that is used by our firefighters when they go into burning buildings or other hazardous environments. Our SAFER Grant is funding 4 additional firefighters for the next two years that add more firefighters for fighting fires in the early minutes of a fire. We have received overwhelming support from our Congressional Representatives with our applications for these funds. Senator Gillibrand has been a strong advocate for our department and all the departments in our region who have received these most valuable grants and we are truly thankful for her support,” said Tom Parsons, Fire Chief, Ithaca Fire Department.
“In just the past two years, Tompkins County fire departments have received over $1.2 million in grants through AFG and SAFER. More importantly, many millions of dollars have been awarded to neighboring jurisdictions who assist us through mutual aid programs and regional response for specialized operations and hazardous materials activities. Every dollar that makes its way to central New York and the Southern Tier works to strengthen our collective capabilities, as we increasingly rely upon each other for not only the large-scale emergencies, but also the typical. The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs in concert with our local response community applauds Senator Gillibrand and the New York State congressional delegation for their strong and continued support of these important federal programs,” said Lee Shurtleff, Director/County Fire & EMS Coordinator, Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response and Board of Directors, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.
The AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act extends authorization of these programs through Fiscal Year 2023. The Senate passed this legislation last week, and it now moves to the House of Representatives.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the Department’s United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the AFG and SAFER grant programs can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.