Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $86,450 in federal grant money for the Patchin Volunteer Fire Company. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The Patchin Volunteer Fire Company will use these federal funds to purchase new turnout gear; firefighters must be equipped with this gear, which includes a coat, pants, boots, gloves, helmets and a hood for interior firefighting. Their current gear is more than one decade old and is no longer compliant with current New York State regulations. This grant will also allow Patchin to purchase gear that will be outfitted with a bailout system, which will allow fire fighters to escape from upper floors of a burning building if traditional exits are blocked. A typical bailout system consists of a harness, descent-control device, carabiner, rope, and snap links.
“These much-needed federal funds will help the Patchin Volunteer Fire Company upgrade the technology critical to keeping firefighters safe and making them more effective at their life-saving work,” said Senator Schumer. “This new gear will bring the Patchin fire department into compliance with current New York State regulations by replacing decade-old turn-out and bail-out gear with new equipment. Our first responders are our primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. It’s crucial that we provide them with the cutting-edge equipment what they need to do their jobs and save lives.”
“Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When our first responders go into harm’s way, it’s our job to ensure they have the equipment they need. This critical investment will help provide Patchin Volunteer firefighters with new up-to-date equipment that will allow them to save lives and protect themselves.”
“I’m very happy we got this grant. This is going to greatly help firefighter safety and help us recruit new firefighters,” said Joe Gallagher, Patchin Fire Chief. “It’s mandated by NYS that we have these new bailout systems to ensure that our firefighters are safe. We operate on a yearly Chief’s budget of $13,400 and only $150,000 from the town so this is going to help significantly.”
With funding, Patchin Fire Company will outfit its current and new members with protective gear, including garments, hoods, gloves, boots and helmets. NFPA requirements dictate that protective gear must be removed from service 10 years after the manufacture date. Patchin’s gear will reach this mark in March of 2014. Additionally, the Company has accepted eight new members, and is low on gear with which to fit them. The cost of fitting one person for firefighting turn out gear is about $2,500, something the Company cannot afford on its own.
Patchin is located in the center of the Town of Boston, New York. Patchin is a very low budget Fire Company which receives $160,000 from the Town each year for fire protection. The Fire Company pays $78,000 in fire truck payments each year, and these payments do not conclude until 2017.
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.
Full text of Senator Schumer’s letter of support is attached.