YAPHANK — Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tim Bishop sponsored a workshop last night in Yaphank to provide Eastern Suffolk Fire Districts with information and strategies to obtain federal grants. Approximately 25 local firefighters from 12 different departments attended the workshop to learn more about funding opportunities through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program for new equipment such as improved breathing apparatus and state-of-the art communications tools, as well as vehicle and facility upgrades.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment and are able to respond to emergencies more safely and effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This workshop will help our communities’ fire departments and brave fire fighters access the right resources and emergency equipment so they can save more lives.”
“Federal investments through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program will allow first responders in our communities to effectively provide the best possible response in any emergency situation without overly burdening local taxpayers,” Congressman Bishop said. “I am proud of the strong record Eastern Suffolk fire and ambulance districts have built in securing these competitive grants.”
At the workshop at Suffolk County Fire Recue and Emergency Services Headquarters in Yaphank, representatives from DHS gave a presentation on the grant application process and eligible uses for the AFG program, which will distribute $288 million in grants nationwide in fiscal year 2013, with the application period opening in mid-to-late August.
Recent fire grants awarded in Eastern Suffolk include: $600,000 for communications upgrades in Holbrook Fire District; $470,585 for communications equipment in Mt. Sinai Fire District; $41,800 for a new air tank refill station in East Moriches Fire Department; and $84,825 for a state-of-the-art vehicle exhaust extraction system in Smithtown Fire District.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the AFG is designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards and improve the nation’s overall level of preparedness. 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 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/assistance-firefighters-grant.