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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2004

Schumer: Over $247,000 Coming To Locke Fire District To Buy New Fire Truck

Schumer announces that 53 fire departments across New York State will receive over $3 million as part of FEMA’s FIRE GRANT program

Schumer says federal grant will help the Locke Fire District buy a new firefighting vehicle In March, Schumer fought to restore $400 million to the FIRE grants program which would be cut under the Administration's FY05 budget

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced over $247,000 in federal funds for the Locke Fire District to pay for a new firefighting vehicle. The funds are being awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“This is a great day for the Locke Fire District,” 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.”

The $247,500 grant for the Locke Fire District is part of the nineteenth round of grants awarded to fire departments across the country with more rounds of awards to come. Fifty-three fire departments across New York State received grants this round.

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 across New York have taken advantage of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which sends funds directly for activities such as hiring additional firefighting personnel; 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. Because of its dramatic success in improving fire safety, Congress has raised the amount of money available in the program from $100 million for 2001, to $350 million for 2002, to $745 million for 2003, and finally to $750 million for 2004.

"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 hiring additional firefighting personnel; 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.

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