Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to renew federal funds for the City of Newburgh’s Fire Department. The Senators previously wrote individual letters to FEMA urging to renew this funding prior to the expiration in May. Initially, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand secured the $2.4 million in 2013 to hire fifteen additional firefighters. Funds were allocated through FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants Program. The Newburgh Fire Department also submitted a new application to FEMA for the SAFER funds.
“Our brave firefighters are our local heroes – they risk their lives every day to protect our communities, residents and property. That’s why I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to our volunteer and career fire departments, particularly when it comes to hiring more firefighters. Back in 2013, I was proud to help secure the funding needed to hire these 15 additional – and desperately needed – firefighters for the City of Newburgh. Now, we need to make sure Newburgh can retain these first responders so they can continue their important, life-saving work,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to make sure Newburgh has the adequate number of staff so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability and keep the community safe.”
“These federal funds are an investment in the Newburgh Fire Department to help keep emergency response programs fully staffed,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our first responders are on the frontlines during emergencies and I’ve fought to secure funds through the SAFER program so they can have the resources to carry out their lifesaving work more effectively. The renewal of this funding is critical for the Newburgh Fire Department in order to retain the necessary number of firefighters to continue their service to the City and surrounding area with a high effectiveness and efficiency.”
The Newburgh Fire Department provides fire and emergency response services to the City of Newburgh and other mutual aid response areas in Orange County. They respond to situations at critical infrastructure in the nearby region, including the CSX railroad, Newburgh Beacon Ferry and Bridge, Stewart International Airport, the Hudson River, and the Petroleum Port of Newburgh. Without the renewal of SAFER funding, the Newburgh Fire Department risks 12 layoffs, jeopardizing the safety of Newburgh’s citizens and firefighters.
The goal of the SAFER grant program is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire related hazards. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy.
Full text of the Senators’ letters to FEMA are included below: