April 29, 2013

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $40,000 Federal Grant for Pilot Knob Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Inc.

Funds to Purchase Thermal Imaging Camera and Protective Gear

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Pilot Knob Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Inc. is set to receive $40,945 in federal funding to purchase a new thermal imaging camera and turnout gear. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. 

“With this funding, Pilot Knob volunteer firefighters can focus on their important work protecting life and property,” said Senator Schumer. “These investments for new SCBA’s and Thermo Imaging Cameras will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible to the emergencies in our communities.”

“This is an important investment for Pilot Knob volunteer firefighters,” Senator Gillibrand said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities.  The new thermal imaging camera and turnout gear can help these firefighters respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively, and help save more lives.” 

“We’re ecstatic! This is tremendous news,” said Bridget Paris, Fire Chief and Rich Paris, President of Pilot Knob Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Inc. “This grant will enable us to purchase a new piece of equipment, a Thermal Imaging Camera and replace outdated Turnout Gear. The Thermal Imaging Camera will provide our firefighters the ability to enhance our search capabilities, speed up fire attack, and reduce fire losses. The new Turnout Gear (Personal Protective Equipment) will replace PPE that is old, worn, and is no longer NFPA compliant, thus providing our firefighters  with  proper protection during incidents and reduce the potential for injuries.”

The Pilot Knob Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Inc. will use the federal funds to purchase a new thermal imaging camera and turnout gear to upgrade their currently obsolete versions to help their staff of volunteers serve the Hamlet of Pilot Knob in Fort Ann.

Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists local fire departments in programs and activities to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks; enhancement of emergency medical services programs; development of health and safety initiatives; establishment of fire education and prevention programs; creation of wellness and fitness programs; and equipment and facility upgrades.

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/ .