Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $124,861 in federal funding to Westerlo Fire Company in Albany County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. Specifically, the Westerlo Fire Company will use the funding to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus SCBAs.
“It is critical that we provide our local fire departments with the most up-to-date equipment they need to keep our citizens safe and do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense – it is crucial we provide them with the resources and cutting-edge tools they need to continue their important work of saving lives.”
“These federal funds will allow the Westerlo Fire Company to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and stay safe while they are protecting our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect the men and women who risk their lives every day in the face of danger, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our fire departments are funded and equipped.”
“The funds will be used to replace our contained breathing apparatus, or CBAs which expire every 15 years and the current CBAs are aged and outdated. This has a huge impact on us because $124,000 is close to half of our annual operating budget. If this grant was not available we are unsure of where the funds would come from to replace the equipment,” said Kevin Flensted, Chief of the Westerlo Volunteer Company.
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. Funding is allocated to strengthen the overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Funding is allocated to strengthen emergency preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.