Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $23,000 For Virgil Fire Department In Cortland County

Aug 18, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced the Virgil Fire Department will receive a $23,741 federal grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. AFG awards are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are designed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. Senator Schumer wrote a letter to DHS and Senator Gillibrand wrote a letter to FEMA in support of the department’s application, in January.

“These much-needed funds will allow the Virgil Fire Department to invest in the equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and save lives,” said Senator Schumer. “These funds will allow our local heroes to continue their important work of keeping the community safe. Making sure the brave men and women that serve in our fire departments have the resources they need will always be a top priority of mine.”

“Providing critical, life-saving equipment to fire stations like the Virgil Fire Department is a top priority,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This great investment will go to the purchase new fire hoses, which will  help the station run more efficiently.”

“The grant will go to replace outdated supply hoses on both of our engines,” said Chief Michael TenKate, Virgil Fire Department. “The hoses we have now are twenty years old.  The old hoses kept bursting and leaking.”

The Virgil Fire Department is completely volunteer-run and is made up of more than 40 members. They will use this federal funding to purchase 3,500 feet of new fire hoses. The Virgil Fire Department’s hoses are nearly 20 years old and reaching the end of their useable life, making the need for new fire hoses particularly acute.

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