FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2007
Schumer Announces Four Southern Tier Fire Departments Will Receive Almost $500,000 In Federal Funds
Schumer: Seven Emergency Response Programs Across New York State Will Receive Over $900,000 As Part Of U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Fire Grant Program
Schumer Says Federal Grant Will Help Fire Department Pay for Improvements During Difficult Fiscal Times
Schumer Has Pushed For Additional Funding For Assistance to Fire Departments And First Responders
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that four fire departments in the Southern Tier will receive federal grants totaling $493,575 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From the ninth round of the DHS FY07 AFG awards, the Pinders Corner Fire Department in Oneonta will receive $185,250, the Conventry Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. in Greene will receive $135,850, and the City of Norwich Fire Department will receive $57,000. From the twenty-ninth round of the DHS FY06 AFG awards, the Worcester Fire Company will receive $114,475. The four grants will be used to improve operations and safety and/or acquire new vehicles.
"This funding will go a long way in supporting the first responders in the Southern Tier," 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 Ostego and Chenango Counties get the resources they need to 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 2008, Congress has authorized $1 billion for the program, $700 million more than the $300 million included in the Administration's budget proposal. The FY07 DHS Appropriations bill, signed into law by the President, appropriated $662 million for firefighter assistance grants, of which $115 million will go toward SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Act grants.
"These grants ensure that the firefighters in Chenango and Ostego Counties 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 .