Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $70,000 Federal Grant for West Oneonta Fire Department

Mar 7, 2013

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the Fire Department of West Oneonta is set to receive $71,250 in federal funding to purchase 10 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) packs. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

“With this funding, West Oneonta firefighters will be safer as they pursue their important keeping our community safe,” said Senator Schumer. “This investment for new SCBA 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.” 

“This is an important investment for the West Oneonta Fire Department,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Ensuring our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment is our responsibility so they can perform at the highest level when they go into harm’s way to keep our families safe. These new SCBA packs will help the Fire Department of Westfield respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively, and help save more lives.”

West Oneonta Fire Department Chief Walter P. Schmitt Jr.
said, “We are a small fire district in rural upstate New York and economic times are having effects for all of us. This grant will be of a great morale booster for our department.”

The West Oneonta Fire Department will use the federal funding to purchase 10 new SCBA packs, replacing the current packs that are between 17 and 20 years old. The new SCBA packs will be the latest standard available to first responders and will allow them to respond to calls in West Oneonta and the surrounding area safely.

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.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant 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.

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