Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $271,303 in federal funding for two fire departments in the Rochester area. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and is designed to help firefighters obtain critical equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The Brighton Fire Department, located in Monroe County, will use its $209,553 in federal funding to purchase 54 self-contained breathing apparatus and cylinders (SCBA). These SCBA air-packs help firefighters breathe when in burning buildings and hazardous environments. The Bergen Fire Department, located in Genesee County, will use its $61,750 in federal funds to purchase an in-house air tank filling system. These filling systems are used to fill firefighters’ self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The fire department’s air tank filling station is currently nearing the end of its lifetime, making the need for a new one particularly acute.
“These much-needed funds will allow the Brighton and Bergen fire departments to invest in the breathing equipment and air tank filling stations they need to do their jobs effectively and save lives,” said Senator Schumer. “Our firefighters are our local heroes—they protect our residents and our property – and these funds will allow those heroes to continue their important work of keeping the community safe.”
“These are important investments for the Brighton Fire Department and the Bergen Fire Department,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When our first responders go into harm’s way, we need to make sure they have the right equipment to save lives. The departments will use this funding to purchase critical, life-saving breathing equipment that will help keep them, and the communities they serve, safe.”
“The latest technology Self-contained breathing apparatuses are vital lifesaving tools,” said Ted Aroesty, the Executive Director of the Brighton Fire Department. “This federal grant will make this purchase possible during challenging financial times for fire departments. We thank Senator Schumer for recognizing the need to protect our firefighters who are out working on a daily basis.”
“The funds that we received from the Assistance to Firefighter Grant will be used to purchase a new SCBA fill station for our fire station. The current system is an old low pressure system that isn’t reliable when it comes to filling the new high pressure SCBA cylinders that the fire service uses today,” said Chuck Dodson, Chief of the Bergen Fire Department. “We have incurred many repair bills to keep the system up and running due to the wear and tear. In addition to our department, the fill station will be available to all of the surrounding departments, and to participants who come to use our training facility. By having this piece of equipment we will be able to keep emergency agencies closer to their own response areas.”
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.