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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2012

SCHUMER SECURES OVER $100,000 FEDERAL GRANT FOR CITY OF BEACON FIRE DEPARTMENT; INVESTMENT MEANS UPDATED EQUIPMENT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS



Funding Comes From DHS AFG Program That Promotes Effective Firefighting Operation

Beacon Fire Will Use Funds to Purchase 46 Sets of Turn Out Gear

Schumer Has Continually Pushed for Funding to Assist Fire Departments and First Responders

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the City of Beacon Fire Department will receive a grant totaling $101,856 in Round 16 of the FY11 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. Schumer appealed personally to Secretary Napolitano on behalf of the City of Beacon Fire Department.  AFG awards are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and are designed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The City of Beacon Fire Department, in Dutchess County, will use this funding to purchase 46 sets of turn our gear to replace non-compliant equipment and fill additional equipment needs. Senator Schumer wrote directly to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in support of this application.

"With these funds, City of Beacon firefighters will have the proper equipment to safely respond to emergencies in the region,” said Schumer. “This investment will help ensure that our local heroes have the equipment that will help them work as efficiently and effectively as possible to protect Beacon residents.”

The City of Beacon Fire Department provides firefighting and emergency services to approximately 25,000 residents and daily visitors and protects critical infrastructure of the State, including a section of Interstate 84 and the Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and a major commuter, freight, and interstate rail line.  The Department also covers a portion of the Hudson River and the City’s waterfront, including state and city parks, a research institute, a Metro-North Railroad Train Station, and the Beacon-Newburgh Ferry Dock.


Schumer was a sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this 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.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grants are 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.  More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/ .

A copy of the Senator’s letter to Secretary Napolitano appears below:

           

The Honorable Janet A. Napolitano

Secretary

US Department of Homeland Security

Nebraska Avenue Center, NW

Washington, DC 20528

 

 

Dear Secretary:

 

I pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the City of Beacon for funding under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (Application No. EMW-2011-FO-02884). Such funding will enable the City of Beacon to critical fire safety equipment.

 

The City of Beacon Fire Department provides firefighting and emergency services to approximately 25,000 residents and daily visitors and protects critical infrastructure of the State, including a section of Interstate 84 and the Hamilton Fish Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and a major commuter, freight, and interstate rail line.  The Department also covers a portion of the Hudson River and the City’s waterfront, including state and city parks, a research institute, a Metro-North Railroad Train Station, and the Beacon-Newburgh Ferry Dock.

 

Currently, 46 of Beacon’s 84 firefighters – more than half the Department – have turnout gear that no longer meets NFPA standards and must be retired, or have no turnout gear at all.  This deficiency puts the firefighters at risk every time they respond to a call, jeopardizing the safety of both the firefighters and the public they are responsible for protecting.  Turnout gear is needed for every call the firefighters make, which last year totaled 1,860.  New turnout gear will greatly improve incident response by ensuring all firefighters are properly equipped and can safely perform any firefighting task required to protect the lives and property of Beacon residents and those in the surrounding communities to whom Beacon provides mutual/automatic aid. 

 

The City of Beacon does not have the financial resources to purchase a sufficient quantity of turnout gear to appropriately equip all of its firefighters, as this would deplete two-thirds of the Fire Department’s entire annual operating budget.  A continuing decline in tax revenues, property assessments, and State aid, coupled with uncontrollable increases in health benefits and pension costs, have forced the City to eliminate positions, freeze salaries, and cut operating budgets.  These fiscal constraints make it very difficult for the City to provide necessary services and secure appropriate equipment for its departments. I applaud the City of Beacon for its foresight, and I sincerely hope its application meets with your approval.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

          Sincerely,

 

 

                                                                      Charles E. Schumer      

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