U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a total of $127,715 in federal funding for two fire departments in the Finger-Lakes region. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The Point Pleasant Fire District and Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department will receive $45,048 and $82,667, respectively. Both grants will help improve operations and safety infrastructure, purchase personal protective equipment and provide enhanced professional training. Specifically, Point Pleasant Fire District will use their grant for an Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Breathing Air Compressor System, which is used by firefighters to provide breathable air when they are exposed to an atmosphere that poses immediate danger to their life or health. Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department will use the funding to purchase 14 Self Constrained Breathing Apparatus Units.
“It is essential that we provide our firefighters with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense for safety and security—it is critical that we do all we can to ensure that they are well equipped and prepared to take on any emergency.”
“These federal funds will allow our first responders to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect our first responders when they risk their lives, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure they are given the support they deserve.”
“In receiving this grant it will allow our department to more quickly and efficiently refill our SCBA bottles after fires and drills were our firefighters are required to use the SCBA’s. With the recent addition of our new Burn Building at our training center we now have a higher level of training which requires us to use SCBA’s more frequently. Having the ability to put these bottles back in service as quickly as possible will enable us to be better prepared for the next emergency and continue to ensure the safety of our members. Our sincere thanks goes out to Senator Schumer for his work in maintaining the funding for these grants which benefit the emergency workers and those citizens they work so hard to protect,” said Mark Thomas, District Administrator and Treasurer of the Point Pleasant Fire District.
“It’s a great honor receiving a federal grant that will help us protect our firefighters in getting new SCBA air packs that we normally would not be able to just go out and purchase. Thank you to all that where involved in helping with this grant the Hemlock Fire Department is humbled,” said Chad Fraser, Second Assistant Chief of the Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department.
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.