Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $688,950 in federal funding for the Silver Springs Fire Department, which applied for these funds on behalf of all 18 county fire departments and the one independent EMS squad. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and will equip 100 percent of the 764 emergency responders within Wyoming County with tone-in, analog voice pagers that will replace the current low-band equipment that is 30 years old and rapidly becoming obsolete. These pagers are essential to emergency communications in any fire department, but particularly among Wyoming County’s hilly terrain that can disrupt radio frequencies. In addition to experiencing frequent mechanical problems, the old pagers will no longer operate when Wyoming County transitions to a new federally mandated high-band communications system later this year.
“These much-needed federal funds will help 18 fire departments and one independent emergency squad in Wyoming County purchase the equipment they need to help keep our firefighters effective during emergency situations,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our primary line of defense, and it is crucial that we provide them with the cutting-edge equipment that they need to do their jobs and save lives. These pagers will operate in sync with new communications systems fire departments are now required to have, making these pagers an investment in our firefighters and the safety of our communities.”
“Updating critical equipment will help keep families and first responders safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This federal funding will allow 18 fire departments throughout Wyoming County to replace outdated emergency communications equipment. With investments in new pagers, firefighters can respond more quickly and more efficiently to emergencies in the area.”
“This funding will equip 764 first responders with pagers that meet new federal communications requirements and are fully compatible with the County’s new communications system,” said Ann McDonnell, project consultant for the Silver Springs Fire Department. “These pagers are essential to Wyoming’s transition to a high-band communication system that will eventually allow for full interoperability with the agencies responsible for emergency response on a regional and State-wide level. Without federal funding assistance, the County’s small volunteer fire department would not be able to complete this upgrade within the foreseeable future.”
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.