U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a $57,026 in federal funding for the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company in Albany County and 11 other fire departments in the Hilltown region. This funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program’s (AFG) Fire Prevention & Safety Program (FP&S). Specifically, the funding will be used to train 10 fire investigators and buy a trailer and critical equipment for the fire investigation teams of all 12 departments.
Schumer and Gillibrand explained that these grant funds will support 12 fire departments in the Hilltown region of Albany County, which includes 480 active firefighters. The fire departments include: Berne Fire District (Berne and East Berne Fire Companies), Coeymans Hollow Volunteer Fire Company, Guilderland Center Fire Department, Knox Fire Department, Medusa Fire Department, New Salem Fire Department, Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company, Rensselaerville Volunteer Fire Department, Tri-Village Fire Company, Voorheesville Fire Department and the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company.
“These much-needed federal funds will enable fire departments throughout Albany County to train fire investigators and purchase the critical supplies they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes—they are our primary line of defense and protect our residents and property. That is why it is crucial that we provide them with the manpower and cutting edge equipment that they need to do their jobs.”
“This investment in fire safety and education training would help reduce fire-related accidents,” said Senator Gillibrand. “By providing the community with fire safety training, residents will be more equipped and better prepared to handle emergency situations. I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our first responders and community residents have the tools and resources they need to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
“The Westerlo Fire Company would like to thank both Senators for their support in continuing the advancement of the fire service through training and resources provided in this grant,” said Chief Kevin Flensted. The grant funds will be used to train 10 firefighters to the Arson Investigator Level II standard and provide basic supplies needed to document the cause and origin of fires in our district and neighboring districts. I would also like to thank all of the dedicated volunteers who continuously serve their communities through training, education and responding to alarms.”
The Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), a Department of Homeland Security program that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the United States Fire Administration. FP&S grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations.