FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 14, 2004
Schumer: Over $871,000 Coming To New York Fire Departments
Schumer announces that 7 fire departments across New York State will receive over $871,000 as part of FEMA’s FIRE GRANT program
Schumer says federal grants will help New York fire departments pay for fire operations, fire safety, and emergency medical services in tough fiscal times
Schumer urged local fire departments across New York State to participate in FIRE GRANT program
US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced over $871,000 in federal funds for New York fire departments to pay for fire operations, fire safety, and emergency medical services. 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 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.”
At the beginning of April, with the deadline for submitting fire grant applications only weeks away, Schumer called on fire departments across New York State to apply to the program, reminding them that last year New York State fire departments received $14.6 million from the federal fire grant program. Schumer’s effort was especially important because Congress more than doubled the amount of money available under the fire grant program from the year before.
The $871,463 in grants for New York fire departments are part of 151 grants awarded to fire departments across the country with more rounds of awards to come. Seven fire departments across New York State received grants this round.
Schumer helped write the original legislation creating the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program in 2001. He also played a central role in preventing the Bush Administration from eliminating funding for the program from the 2001 budget. Because of its dramatic success in improving fire safety across the country, Congress has continually raised the amount of money available in the program, increasing it from $100 million in 2001, to $350 million in 2002, and finally to $750 million in 2003.
"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.