Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $350,000 for Syracuse Area Fire Departments

Feb 14, 2013

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $213,038 for the Skaneateles Fire Department and $134,663 for the DeWitt Fire District to purchase Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

In her letter to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, Senator Gillibrand urged the agency to give full consideration to the requests of these fire departments to upgrade their operations to fill critical needs for their first responders.

“With this funding, Syracuse area firefighters can focus on their important work without fear for their own safety,” said Senator Schumer. “These investments for new equipment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible to the emergencies in our communities.”

“This federal funding is an important investment for these Syracuse area fire departments,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When our first responders go into harm’s way to keep our families safe, it is our responsibility to make sure they have the right equipment. This grant will help give them the resources they need so they can operate safely and efficiently, and help save more lives.”

“The Skaneateles Fire Department is very pleased and grateful to recently hear that we have been awarded $213,038 for new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus,” Skaneateles Fire Department Chief Eric R. Sell said. “With this award the Skaneateles Fire Department can replace SCBA’s dated back to 1992. This will improve the safety of the volunteer firefighters.”

“The DeWitt Fire District is pleased to hear that we were successful with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program,” DeWitt Fire District Fire Chief Jason C. Green said.  “Our application was for Operations and Safety and will be used for complete replacement of our SCBA) equipment.   Our current units were in disrepair and beyond their serviceable life.  Next to adequately trained personnel, having those personnel properly and safely equipped is one of our highest priorities.”

The Skaneateles Fire Department will use their share of the federal funds to switch their oxygen system and purchase new SCBA bottles. Not only will this allow first responders to carry more oxygen more safely to better serve the residents of the town of Skaneateles, Skaneatles will be able to share oxygen and  provide better mutual aid to fire departments in Mottville, Marcellus, Elbridge and Sennett during emergencies.

The Dewitt Fire District will use the federal funds to completely replace obsolete SCBA units in order to better support their firefighters as they serve their community.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, established by DHS and FEMA, is part of an effort to increase the nation’s emergency response preparation. This program provides federal funding to first responder organizations for the acquisition of personal protective equipment, firefighting vehicles, and emergency response equipment. The funds will also help provide emergency response training to firefighters.

Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.

Senator Gillibrand’s letters advocating for the federal funds are attached.