U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $138,304 in federal funding for the Belgium Cold Springs Fire District and partner fire departments in Onondaga and Oswego Counties. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The federal funding will allow the Lysander Public Safety Committee, a coalition made up of eight fire departments throughout the Central NY region, to set up a high school Fire/EMS elective course at Baker High School in Baldwinsville. The course curriculum will include basic fire instruction, as well as CPR and first aid training. The program will expose students to careers and volunteerism in emergency services, and prepare them to join a local fire department upon completion.
The Lysander Public Safety Committee’s coalition includes fire departments throughout Onondaga and Oswego Counties, including the Belgium Cold Springs Fire District, the Baldwinsville Fire Department, the Lysander Fire Department, the Lakeside Fire District, the Phoenix Fire Department, the Cody Fire Department, the Seneca River Fire Department, and the Plainville Fire Department.
“These essential federal funds will provide our Onondaga and Oswego County fire departments with the resources they need to educate and train the next generation of firefighters,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are local heroes and the primary line of defense in emergencies. They put their lives on the line every day to protect our residents, property, and community. That’s why they deserve a well-trained cohort of new staff to do their jobs to the best of their ability, and keep our community safe. It is vital that we provide them the support they need, and I am proud to fight for funding that supports our first responders.”
“These much-needed federal funds will help enable Onondaga and Oswego County fire departments to train firefighters and purchase the critical supplies they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I wrote to Administrator Fugate specifically requesting this funding for the Belgium Cold Springs Fire District on behalf of the Lysander Public Safety Coalition. The additional funding provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable exposure to fire safety and to provide a pipeline for future volunteers for local departments that are in need of members to continue their emergency services. I will continue to fight in the Senate to make sure more of our local fire departments have the resources they need to do their jobs safely.”
“We are thankful for this grant as it allows us to continue the high school elective program and continually expose students to fire and EMS careers, and instill the importance of volunteerism in the community,” said Catherine Thompson, Secretary for the Lysander Public Safety Coalition.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security, was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.