May 14, 2014

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $121,000 for Central New York Fire Departments

Federal Funding Will Help Fire Departments in Cortland and Chenango Counties

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $121,649 in federal funding for Central New York Fire Departments. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG).

“These much-needed federal funds will provide the assistance that Central New York fire departments need to replace critical equipment like fire hoses and new breathing equipment. First responders are our primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. It’s crucial that we provide our fire departments support to purchase the equipment they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability,” said Senator Schumer.

“This is an important investment to ensure firefighters in Central New York have the right equipment necessary to save lives and protect themselves,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When our first responders go into harm’s way, this funding will help provide critical tools and resources to our firefighters so they can better serve our communities and keep our families safe.”

The Preble Fire Department located in Cortland County, received $22,165 in federal funding and will use it to purchase 2,900 feet of fire hose, including four new nozzles. The Preble Fire Department handles nearly 200 emergency calls with most being medical emergencies. They also handle motor vehicle accidents, water emergencies as well as fallen trees and power lines. Without this funding, the Preble Fire Department would have been forced to expend nearly 20 percent of its entire firefighting operation budget replacing this old gears. Schumer’s office personally convened a conference call with the Preble Fire Chief to go over the fire department’s grant application in its entirety, wrote a letter to FEMA in support of the grant application and personally pushed FEMA to award the funding. In January, Senator Gillibrand sent a letter urging FEMA to swiftly approve the funding for the Preble Fire Department.

The Sherburne Fire Department is located in Chenango County and received $99,484 in federal funding. The funding will be used to purchase 22 new self-contained breathing apparatuses. The Sherburne Fire Department’s 45 volunteer firefighters serve more than 7,000 residents. In serving the 50 square miles that include Sherburne and part of Columbus, the Sherburne Fire Department services 5 schools and responds to nearly 600 emergency calls. Senator Gillibrand sent a letter to FEMA in support of the Sherburne Fire Department’s grant application, in January.

Jansen Casscles, First Assistant Fire Chief said, “Federal assistance is a great importance to Sherburne to be able to provide the firefighter services that we do in a rural area. These new breathing apparatus will help us to continue to provide fire fighter safety during building fires.”

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.firegrantsupport.com/ .