Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $50,000 For Western New York Fire Departments

Aug 8, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $34,205 in federal funding for the Upper Mountain Fire Company in Lewiston, located in Niagara County, and $22,182 in federal funding for the Depew Volunteer Fire Department in Depew, located in Erie County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The Upper Mountain Fire Company will use these funds to purchase a hydraulic rescue tool, commonly known as the “Jaws of Life.” This rescue tool will enable the department to provide a quicker response in removing injured and trapped people from vehicles. The Depew Volunteer Fire Department will use the funds to replace outdated and fire hose and nozzles as well as purchase a foam eductor, which is used to combat chemical fires.

“These much-needed funds will allow two of our Western New York Fire Departments to invest in the equipment 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. These funds will allow those 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 has always been a top priority of mine.”

 “These are important investments for Western New York,” 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 Upper Mountain Fire Company and the Depew Volunteer Fire Department will use this funding to purchase critical, life-saving equipment that will help them better serve their communities and save more lives.”

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant money not only because it will allow us to respond to accidents faster with closer tools, but also it will enable us to help out and give back to the departments that have helped us.” said Dan Leven, Upper Mountain Fire Company’s Fire Chief.

“We’re beyond thrilled to be receiving this grant,” said Scott Wegst, the 1st Assistant Chief at the Depew Volunteer Fire Department. “We are purchasing foam equipment, which will better allow us to fight chemical fires.  This is particularly important because of the oil tank train cars that pass through the village. I know Senator Schumer has had a lot to do with that.  Until now we haven’t had the funds to make these improvements, so this helps immensely.”  

The Upper Mountain Fire Company has had to borrow hydraulic rescue tools from neighboring fire departments in the past, highlighting the need to possess its own equipment for emergency situations. The Depew Fire Department’s current fire hose that is being replaced is 15 years old, and some of its nozzles have been in service for more than for 40 years, making the need for new equipment particularly acute. The foam eductor equipment is a device that is placed in a foam tank and allows firefighters to use foam instead of water for chemical fires. The nozzles then evenly distribute the foam. The eductor is particularly important for first responders due to the number of oil tank cars passing through the village.

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