Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $538,024 in federal funding for two Capital Region Fire Departments. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The Rexford Fire District in Saratoga County will receive $150,070 in federal funding to purchase and replace 25 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and 50 SCBA cylinders. These SCBA air-packs help firefighters breathe when in burning buildings and hazardous environments. With its remaining funds, Rexford plans to purchase an air tank filling system. The air tank filling systems are used to fill firefighters’ SCBAs. The Duanesburg Fire District in Schenectady County will receive $387,954 in federal funds to purchase new SCBA packs and new air cylinders as well. This funding will allow Duanesburg to divide its allocated funding between four different departments in Schenectady County to purchase air packs and new equipment for its firefighters.
“These much-needed federal funds will enable two Capital Region Fire Departments in Saratoga and Schenectady Counties to purchase new breathing equipment that will keep firefighters safe and make them more effective during emergency situations,” 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 cutting-edge equipment that they need to do their jobs and save lives.”
“These federal grants awarded to our fire departments go a long way towards making our communities safer” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our first responders put their lives on the line every day and they deserve the best. This much needed investment will help the Rexford and Duanesburg Fire Districts offer the best possible service to residents in the Capital Region.”
“The funds will be used to purchase 25 new air packs and 50 new bottles for the packs,” said Aaron Cote, First Assistant Fire Chief for the Rexford Fire District. “We will also be purchasing a fill station. We currently do not have a fill station to fill bottles and have to travel to neighboring fire departments to do so. Our current bottles and packs are from 2002 and in the last 2 years we’ve had 15 bottles expire. We’re getting very low on bottles so new equipment is necessary for us. This will help us to protect our firefighters more effectively with up to date equipment.”
“This will really bring us up to the latest equipment standards for firefighting,” said Thomas Howe, Chief of the Duanesburg Fire District.
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.