U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $295,546 in federal funding for the Utica Fire Department in Oneida County. The funding was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. Specifically, the Utica Fire Department will use this funding to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs for its firefighters, which will replace its obsolete equipment that is no longer compliant with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
“With this funding, the first responders of the Utica Fire Department can focus on their important work knowing they have new, reliable and protective equipment,” said Senator Schumer. “This investment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work as effectively and safely as possible.”
“These federal funds will allow the Utica Fire Department to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and stay safe while they are protecting our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect the men and women who risk their lives every day in the face of danger, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our fire departments are funded and equipped.”
“I thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand and for their tireless and effective advocacy for the City of Utica and the Utica Fire Department. Securing funding for these SCBA units is tremendously helpful to the City and provides lifesaving resources to our Fire Fighters who risk their lives to keep our residents safe,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.
The Utica Fire Department protects over 63,000 residents in the City of Utica and the department response to an average of 12,500 calls each year. The Department also operates a HAZMAT team which serves not only the City of Utica but all of the eastern half of Oneida County, as well as the entirety of Herkimer County. Although he Department is responsible for protecting a significant population centers, much of the equipment is old and in need of replacement, the Senators said.
The current SCBA packs are nearly 15 years old and no longer compliant with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, and has experienced numerous mechanical problems recently. Acquiring new SCBA equipment will allow Utica Fire Fighters to operate safely in hostile environments to effectively protect property and save lives.
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. Funding is allocated to strengthen the overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Funding is allocated to strengthen emergency preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/.