Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Belgium Cold Springs Fire District will receive $57,000 in federal grant funding to replace their compressor and cascade system. The funding comes from the FY12 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. AFG awards are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are designed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
“With this funding, Belgium Cold Springs first responders can focus on their important work knowing that they have reliable new equipment,” said Senator Schumer. “This investment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible with a new compressor and a cascade system.”
“This is an important investment for Belgium Cold Springs Fire District,” Senator Gillibrand said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities. This funding will help the Belgium Cold Springs Fire District purchase a new compressor and cascade system so that their firefighters can respond to emergencies in the community more efficiently and effectively, and help save more lives.”
“The grant funding will be used to replace our compressor and cascade system which is used to fill SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) bottles,” said Amy Speach, District Secretary for Belgium Cold Springs Fire District. “Our current unit was purchased in 1981 and is 32 years old. In less technical terms, this air handling system is used to fill the air bottles that provide our firefighters with safe, quality air to breathe in their SCBA Paks when responding to fires and any other emergencies in which they may be exposed to contaminated air.
In July 2012, Senator Schumer fought for, and saved, a critical fire training program for volunteer firefighters operated in part by the Belgium Cold Springs Fire Department. The AFG Program assists local fire departments in programs and activities to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks; enhancement of emergency medical services programs; development of health and safety initiatives; establishment of fire education and prevention programs; creation of wellness and fitness programs; and equipment and facility upgrades.
AFG funds 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.firegrantsupport.com/.