U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $92,341 in federal funding for the Hinsdale and Jamison Road Fire Districts in Western New York. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The Hinsdale Fire Department in Cattaraugus County will use its $51,016 in federal funds to purchase two thermal imaging camera systems, which allow firefighters to see better when they are in a smoky environment and are searching for life. The additional money will be used to purchase a new air tank filling system. The Jamison Road Fire Company in Erie County will also be using its $41,325 in federal funds to purchase an in-house air tank filling system. These filling systems are used to fill firefighters’ self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which are air-packs help firefighters breathe when in burning buildings and hazardous environments.
“These much-needed funds will allow two Western New York Fire Departments to invest in the equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and save lives,” said Senator Schumer. “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. 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.”
“Adequate equipment upgrades for Western New York fire departments will help keep our communities and first responders safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding will advance fire safety for future emergency situations and helps the Hinsdale Fire Department and Jamison Road Fire Company run more efficiently.”
“It’s all about safety,” said Kelly Karst, Chief of the Hinsdale Fire Department. “Without these grants, this fire department wouldn’t be able to function. Our tax base can’t support the types of things that we need, so we’re very grateful for this grant. Without it, we’d be in bad shape.”
“This new filing system is going to help keep our firefighters safe, no question,” said Brian Nolan Jr., Chief of the Jamison Road Fire Company. “It allows us to refill the bottles after fighting structure fires. It’s also going to help us refill the air bottles for neighboring fire districts, which is also important.”
The thermal imaging cameras that the Hinsdale Fire Department will purchase are used for interior firefighting, and one will be placed in each of their two fire trucks. These cameras allow the firefighters to identify the strongest parts of the fire and also help in specific search and rescue situations. In addition to the cameras, Hinsdale will purchase two new air compressors to replace the old compressor, which is a model from the early 1990’s that is not nearly as safe as a new tank filling system.
The Jamison Road Fire Department will also be purchasing a new air filling tank. Last year the Erie County fire department purchased new tanks for their SCBAs, but their old filing station is no longer compatible with these new tanks. This new filling station will allow them to refill their new tanks, but also to refill them for neighboring fire districts.
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.