U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $22,381 in federal funding for the Marcellus Volunteer Fire Department in Central New York. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The funding will be used to purchase a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compliant washer, extractor, and dryer system for turnout gear for the Department, as their current equipment is unable to capture contaminated water. The Department’s current washer and dual-purpose dryer system is over 20 years old, and the new equipment will bring Marcellus Fire Department up to modern standards.
“It is essential that we provide our firefighters with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense for safety and security—it is critical that we do all we can to ensure that they are well equipped and prepared to take on any emergency.”
“Every day, our first responders risk their lives to protect their communities, exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals that can affect their health. This federal funding will allow the Marcellus Volunteer Fire Department to purchase equipment that would help protect them from possible contamination,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I will always fight in the Senate to make sure our local fire departments have the resources they need to do their jobs safely.”
“This grant couldn’t have come at a better time. As a volunteer department, we don’t have $20,000 in our budget to replace the outdated turnout gear washing and drying unit. An up to code washing and drying machine is essential to keeping firefighters safe from contaminants that could potentially lead to cancer and other illnesses,” said past Fire Chief & 30+ year volunteer, John Rossiter.
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.