U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $217,143 in federal funding for the Worcester Hose Company in Otsego County, a volunteer fire company with four departments located in Worcester, East Worcester, Schenevus and Westford. The funding was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program. The federal funding will allow the Worcester Hose Company to purchase new radio systems for all four Otsego County departments. The new equipment will upgrade the Worcester Hose Company’s communications network to a modern high-band radio system currently used by Otsego County’s 911 Center. By syncing the two radio systems, emergency dispatchers and firefighters will have a more efficient line of communication during emergencies.
“In the event of an emergency, where every second counts, it is critical that our 911 dispatchers and firefighters have a coordinated communication network that allows for the most efficient response,” said Senator Schumer. “These brave volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line every day, and it is crucial that we provide them with the technology and equipment they need to protect our communities and keep residents safe.”
“Our first responders are on the frontlines during emergencies and should have the most up-to-date equipment they need to help save lives,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Worcester Hose Company will use this funding to purchase critical equipment that will help enhance communications among first responders during emergency situations. I will continue to push for funding that helps keep our first responders safe as they do their job protecting our community.”
“This grant will help us tremendously in updating our radios as the County changes to high band,” said Jim Empie of the Worcester Hose Company. “More importantly, it will allow us to make these important changes without putting any weight on the backs of local taxpayers.”
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/.