U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $107,383 in federal funding for the Rapids Volunteer Fire Department in Niagara County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). Rapids Fire Department in Niagara County will use the federal funds to purchase new turnout gear. Turnout gear typically includes coats, pants, boots, gloves, helmets and hood for interior firefighting. The cost of fitting one person for firefighting turnout gear is about $2,500, making it very expensive for many local fire departments to afford. With this funding, the Rapids Volunteer Fire Department will now be able to outfit 50 of its active members with this protective gear.
“These much-needed funds will allow the Rapids Volunteer Fire Department to invest in the protective equipment 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 will continue to be a top priority of mine. These funds will allow our local heroes to continue their important work of keeping the community safe.”
“Every day our first responders put their lives on the line to protect our families and keep our communities safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Ensuring they have the right equipment to protect themselves while serving our community is critical. That’s why this new gear for the Rapids firefighters is so important.”
“We’re very happy to be receiving this grant and it’s really going to help keep our firefighters safe,” said Richard Newton, Director of the Rapids Volunteer Fire Department. “If a coat or the bibs get a hole or become frayed we have to take them out of service, so new gear is going to ensure that both our exterior and interior firefighters are well-equipped and safe, and they’re very expensive.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants 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 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.