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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES TWO ERIE COUNTY FIRE DEPARMENTS WILL SHARE OVER $165,000 IN FEDERAL FIRE GRANTS FOR OPERATIONS AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS


Goal Is to Enhance First Responders' Ability to Protect the Health And Safety of the Public In Erie County

Schumer Says Funds Will Help The Fire Department Pay for Improvements During Difficult Fiscal Times

Schumer Has Successfully Pushed for Additional Funding for Assistance to Fire Departments and First Responders

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that Blasdell Fire Department and Union Fire Company have received federal grants totaling $165,063 as part of Round 4 of the FY09 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The funding will be used to supply the Blasdell Fire Department, which received 44,035 for new radios, and Union Fire Company, which received 121, 028 for new self contained breathing apparatuses.

“This is great news for Erie County. Bottom line: new firefighting equipment means lives saved," said Schumer. "Our firefighters put their lives on the line to help their communities and they deserve the very best we can give them. I am proud to send them what they need and I’ll fight to keep it coming."

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. The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
 
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program 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.
 
Schumer added: “We can never truly repay our first responders for their heroic efforts and dedication to duty. But we can make certain that they have the training and resources they need to do their job and do their job well. This federal money will ensure that the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us get the resources they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.”
 
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.

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