March 29, 2012

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $790,000 for Suffolk County Fire Districts

Funding Through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Will Help Purchase New Breathing Apparatus Equipment

Suffolk, NY – U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $791,600 in federal funding for the Smithtown, Halesite, Kings Park, Melville, and Centerport Fire Districts. This grant will go towards purchasing new breathing apparatus for firefighters as well as additional air tanks and individual masks. 

“This funding will ensure that our firefighters have the latest equipment they need to protect Suffolk County residents,” said Schumer. “By funding the purchase of breathing machines, this grant will help these firefighters do their jobs more effectively and safely.” 

“This is an important investment for Suffolk County’s Fire Districts,” said Gillibrand. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that our first responders have a safe working environment and the most up-to-date equipment so they can respond to emergencies efficiently and effectively.”  

“The Board of Fire Commissioners of the Smithtown Fire District would like to thank Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Congressman Israel for the award of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $791,600,” said Smithtown Fire District Commissioner Tom Buffa. “With this grant we, along with the Centerport, Halesite, Kings Park, and the Melville Fire Departments, plan to purchase the necessary upgrade and or replacement of Scott Air Packs that are required for the safety of our firefighters.” 

“Collaborative efforts such as this lead to streamlined purchasing and increased services for the taxpayer” said Tom Devaney, Director of Operations at JSK Public Safety.” By acting as the host agency, Smithtown FD proved itself as an innovative leader in the fire service and in government contracting”, he continued. 

The award will fund the purchase of approximately 125 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) which are worn by individual firefighters while engaged in firefighting or exposed to other dangerous environments.  The award also provides for additional air tanks and individual masks. All of these items are required under both OSHA and NFPA regulation. 

This federal award is estimated to cover over 84 square miles, 550 volunteer firefighters, and a combined population of 150,000 residents.  The combined region stretches  from an area starting at Republic Airport, north to the LI Sound, and east to Smithtown. The region responded to roughly 9,000 fire and EMS calls in 2011. 

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security, is part of an effort to increase the nation’s emergency response preparation. This program provides federal funding to first responder organizations for the acquisition of personal protective equipment, firefighting vehicles, and emergency response equipment. The funds also help provide emergency response trainings.