January 12, 2011

Gillibrand Announces More Than $21,000 For Cortland County Fire Department

Funds Will Help Provide Much-Needed Emergency Response Equipment, Training

Washington – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $21,375 in federal funding for Virgil Fire Department in the city of Cortland. This funding is being allocated through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Funding will be used by the Virgil Fire Department to improve its ability to respond to fires and other hazards.

“This is a great investment for Cortland County,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This federal investment will help improve the fire department’s equipment, help local firefighters do their work and keep families safe. I will continue working to ensure our first responders have the tools and resources they need to keep our communities safe.”

Virgil Fire Department Chief Michael TenKate said, “The Virgil Fire Department appreciates Senator Gillibrand’s assistance with this grant. This funding will be used to install bailout devices for above ground evacuation on our self contained breathing apparatuses.” 

In a letter from August of last year to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, Senator Gillibrand expressed her support for Virgil Fire Department’s grant application. Due to an increasing call volume and economic stress, the Department has had difficulty affording the essential equipment needed to ensure the health and safety of the Department’s firefighters and the growing community it protects.

These funds will allow the Department to purchase vertical escape bailout systems in order to increase the safety of the firefighters, and acquire safety equipment to save firefighters trapped in elevators during rescues – in compliance with New York State mandates and the National Response Framework established by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, established by DHS and FEMA, is part of an effort to increase the nation’s emergency response preparation. This program provides federal funding to first-responder organizations for the acquisition of personal protective equipment, firefighting vehicles, and emergency response equipment. The funds also help provide emergency response training for firefighters.