Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $19,000 In Federal Funding For The Athens Volunteer Fire Department In Greene County

Jul 24, 2015

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $19,953 in federal funding for the Athens Volunteer Fire Department. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The Athens Volunteer Fire Department will use this federal investment to purchase a washer/extractor and dryer to clean firefighter turnout gear.

“This much-needed funding will allow the Athens Fire Department to purchase the critical equipment it needs to keep firefighters safe and their gear in top-notch shape,” said Senator Schumer. “First responders are our primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. That is why it’s crucial we provide them with the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and continue their important life-saving work.”

“The Athens Volunteer Fire Department will use this funding to invest in critical equipment that will help keep firefighters safe during emergency situations and enable them able to carry out their lifesaving work more effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our first responders are on the frontlines during emergencies and should have the most up-to-date equipment as they do their job protecting our community.”

“With the funds from the Assistant Firefighter Grant, the Athens Volunteer Fire Department will be able to purchase a 55 pound turnout gear washer/extractor and six unit gear dryer which is a first time purchase of this equipment specifically designed to maintain the department’s structural firefighting protective ensembles,” said former Fire Chief Peter Alberti. “Exposure to dangerous chemical residues, toxic hydrocarbon by-products and blood borne pathogens will be reduced. The reduced exposure will also serve to decrease illness and increase firefighter availability to protect lives and property in our village.”  

In many cases the firefighters’ gear still has toxic carcinogens emitted from the fire and needs to be professionally cleaned. This state-of-the-art machine will avoid that process and allow firefighters to have their gear cleaned in-house and, therefore, ready for the next emergency as soon as possible.

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.  Funding is allocated to strengthen emergency preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at