FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2005
Schumer: Over $1.1 Million Coming To Western New York Fire Organizations
Schumer announces that 93 fire departments and organizations across New York State will receive over $8.2 million as part of U.S. Department of Homeland Securities’ FIRE GRANT program Schumer says federal grant will help Western New York pay for fire operations and fire safety in tough fiscal times In March, Schumer fought to restore $400 million to the FIRE grants program which would be cut
US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced over $1.2 million in federal funds for twelve fire departments in Western New York to pay for fire operations, fire safety, and new firefighting vehicle acquisitions. The funds are being awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"This is a great day for Western New York fire departments," said Schumer. "In the brave new post-9/11 world, our first responders must be well trained and well equipped to deal with any problem that comes their way. This is really difficult when budget cuts are leaving them short on cash. These federal grants will help make sure that firefighters have the money they need to do their jobs."
Twelve grants for a total of $1,183,225 million were awarded to fire departments and organizations in three Western New York counties, including: the Lakewood Fire Department ($99,940) and Fredonia Volunteer Fire Department ($78,826) in Chautauqua County, the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department ($176,502), the Depew Volunteer Fire Department ($34,590), the Brant Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1 ($61,358), the Lawtons Volunteer Fire Company ($46,584), the North Amherst Fire Company ($64,700), the Pine Hill Hose Company #5 ($22,057), the Lancaster Volunteer Fire Department ($48,830), and the Patchin Fire Company ($42,111) in Erie County, the Bergholz Volunteer Fire Company ($42,227) in Niagara County for operations and fire safety. In addition, funds were received by the City of Tonawanda Fire Department (465,500) in Erie County for a new firefighting vehicle. The grants were part of the first round of DHS FY 2005 grants across the country, with more rounds to come.
A Schumer analysis of the Administration's federal budget for FY05 found that cuts to the program could shortchange New York fire departments by $16 million. In March, Schumer urged the Congress and the White House to bolster the Administration's proposal by sending the full $900 million promised to fire departments by Congress.
At Schumer's urging, fire departments and emergency services providers across New York have taken advantage of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which sends funds directly for activities such as specialized emergency response training for situations like terrorist attacks; the creation of wellness and fitness programs for firefighters; equipment and facility upgrades; new fire trucks; and fire prevention programs.
"If ever our local fire departments needed an infusion of cash from the federal government, that time is now," Schumer said. "Budget gaps are worse than they've been in a long time with little relief in sight, and the strain on local fire departments is becoming too much to bear. Add to that the heightened alert our first responders are on because of the war, and this opportunity for fire departments to get financial support is just what the doctor ordered."
The grant program, called the USFA Grants to Firefighters Program, awards grants directly to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of firefighting personnel, facing fire and fire-related hazards.
The USFA awards the grants on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. Funding is available for activities such as specialized emergency response training for situations like terrorist attacks; the creation of wellness and fitness programs for firefighters; equipment and facility upgrades; and fire prevention programs.