FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2006
Schumer Announces Three Western New York Fire Departments Will Receive Over $144,000 In Federal Fire Grants
Schumer: Twenty-Four Emergency Response Programs Across New York State Will Receive Over $2.5 Million As Part Of U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Fire Grant Program
Schumer Says Federal Grants Will Help Fire Department Pay For Improvements During Difficult Fiscal Times
Schumer Successfully Pushed For Additional Funding For Assistance To Fire Departments And First Respon
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that three Western New York fire departments will receive federal grants totaling $144,740 from the 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Bemus Point Volunteer Fire Co., Inc. in Chautauqua County will receive a $43,966 grant; Forks Fire District No. 3 in Erie County will receive a $84,550 grant; and Town of Tonawanda EMS in Erie County will receive a $16,224 grant. All three fire departments will use the federal grants to improve operations and safety. The grants are part of the tenth round of DHS FY06 AFG program awards to several fire departments throughout the country.
“This funding will go a long way in supporting the first responders in Western New York,” said Schumer. “Our nation’s firefighters are truly America’s heroes. Whether fighting a building fire or responding to a terrorist attack, it is essential that we help them to do their jobs safely and efficiently. One of the key ways to do this is to make sure that they have enough firefighters on duty to handle the job and to ensure that they have the training, equipment and resources they need to do their job well. This federal money will help make sure that firefighters in Erie and Chautauqua Counties get the resources they need and have enough people on hand keep our communities safe.”
Schumer was among the first senators who recognized the need for the federal government to establish a funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. Since its inception in 2001, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program has delivered over $122 million to New York's fire departments.
For Fiscal Year 2007, Congress has authorized $1 billion for the program, $707 million more than the $293 million included in the Administration's budget proposal. The FY07 DHS Appropriations bill, passed by the House and Senate, appropriated $662 million for firefighter assistance grants, of which $115 million will go toward SAFER Act grants.
The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program funds will go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP) assists local fire departments in programs and activities to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks; enhancement of emergency medical services programs; development of health and safety initiatives; establishment of fire education and prevention programs; creation of wellness and fitness programs; and equipment and facility upgrades.
"This grant ensures that the firefighters in Western New York continue to have the basic resources they require to do their jobs, improve safety and save lives" said Schumer. "Local fire departments have been strained from budget cuts, rising costs of equipment and stress from being on heightened alert because of the war on terrorism. These funds are truly a life saving investment that will provide local fire departments with essential resources and support, so they can be better prepared for emergencies."
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the Department's United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. For more information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, please visit the website at http://www.firegrantsupport.com .