U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $196,521 in federal funding for four fire departments in Central New York. The funding was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. Specifically, the Homer Fire Department in Cortland County will receive $13,567 in funding to purchase a new washing and drying machine to prevent harmful chemicals from seeping through clothes after fires. The Village of Fayetteville Fire Department in Onondaga County will receive $23,810 for new turnout gear that will protect firefighters. The DeWitt Fire District in Onondaga County will receive $35,715 to replace outdated gear that has reached its usable life. Finally, the Navarino Volunteer Fire Department, also located in Onondaga County, will receive $123,429 to replace 18 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs.
“With this funding, our Central New York firefighters can focus on their critical, life-saving work knowing they have new and reliable protective equipment,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense – it is crucial we provide them with the resources and up-to-date tools they need to continue their important work of saving lives.”
“These federal funds will allow our fire departments to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and stay safe while they are protecting our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect the men and women who risk their lives every day in the face of danger, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our fire departments are funded and equipped.”
“We are thankful for the support for this grant which benefits our community tremendously,” said Paul Hildreth, Fire Chief of the Village of Fayetteville Fire Department.
“Keeping firefighting turnout gear is very important in many ways,” said Homer Fire Department Chief Robert Johnson. “First is the recent awareness of cancers associated with the Hazardous materials that is present on the gear after an incident in which the firefighting gear is exposed. These materials penetrate the lining and are then absorbed in the human body. Another reason to keep gear clean is it increases the life of gear, and also reduces the cycle time in which the gear can be put back to use. The washer, dryer, and turnout gear is costly. But as one can see; the benefits out way the cost tremendously. We are extremely pleased that we will receive this grant towards the purchase of these two items.”
“We are thrilled to receive these federal funds to help us purchase much needed firefighting equipment for our personnel,” said Jason C. Green, Chief of Fire of the DeWitt Fire District. “The funds will be used to purchase personal protective equipment for our firefighters. The new equipment will replace worn and outdated gear that no longer meets safety standards. The DeWitt Fire District is a combination fire department with both career and volunteer firefighters who proudly protect the DeWitt Fire District in Onondaga County. This federal support will go a long way towards meeting our mission to safely provide the best service possible to our community. We thank our Senators for the endless support of this program.”
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. Funding is allocated to strengthen the overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.