U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $250,010 in federal funding for the North Tonawanda Fire Department in Erie County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The federal funding will allow North Tonawanda firefighters to obtain fifty new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units. Currently, the North Tonawanda Fire Department is using SCBA units that are three generations old and will expire in August. This critical grant funding allows the fire department to obtain the equipment necessary to maintain compliance without any cost to the City of North Tonawanda or its taxpayers. Had the service life for the current units expired, the City of North Tonawanda would’ve had to shoulder the cost to maintain fire operations.
“It is essential that we provide North Tonawanda’s firefighters with the technology 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.”
“These federal funds will allow our first responders to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect our first responders when they risk their lives, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure they are given the support they deserve.”
Anytime we can get a quarter of a million dollars, it’s a big deal,” said North Tonawanda Firefighter Rob Orlowski. “This money is going to help us get new SCBA units on our firefighters and make sure they’re safe from harm. Our first priority is protecting the public and this money enables us to do just that. Special thanks to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Mayor Pappas, the common council, and all of our elected officials who continue to support this crucial 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. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.