Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney today announced $207,000 in federal funding for the Vails Gate Fire District in Orange County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The Vails Gate Fire District will use the funding for a tuition reimbursement program that will help recruit new firefighters who are looking to attend college or vocational school while serving their community. The funding will also help retain existing firefighters who may otherwise not have the time to continue their department service because they need to work an additional job.
“Whether it’s a fire, flood, car accident, or when disaster strikes, we depend on these local heroes to keep us safe, and they depend on us to give them the resources they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding will allow the Vails Gate Fire District to grow its ranks, while also giving firefighters the opportunity to pursue higher education. I’m proud to announce this federal investment, and will continue fighting to ensure that fire departments across the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York have the tools and resources they need.”
“With this federal funding, the Vails Gate Fire District will have the resources to add new members to their team as well as retain their experienced firefighters, which will help the district continue to keep their community safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Every day our first responders risk their lives to protect us, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure our local fire departments have the staffing level that they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”
“Our firefighters do their part every single day in working to protect communities in the New Windsor area – it’s up to elected officials to do our part and ensure they have the resources they need to hire and train these first responders,” said Rep. Maloney. “This investment will go a long way to keeping our communities safe – and I’ll keep fighting down in Washington to make sure we set aside a responsible level of funding for the Hudson Valley’s bravest.”
“The Vails Gate Fire District would like to thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Representative Maloney for their assistance in obtaining this grant from the Department of Homeland Security. This will enable us to attract and retain quality volunteers who will provide our community with the level of protection they require and deserve,” said Paul Decker, Commissioner, Vails Gate Fire District.
The SAFER grant program was established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. More information can be found here.