JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER STANDING WITH WEST POINT FIREFIGHTERS, SCHUMER DELIVERS $1.8 MILLION TO WEST POINT FIRE DEPARTMENT - $500K MORE THAN THEIR ORIGINAL REQUEST; AFTER 92% OF THEIR BUDGET WAS CUT, WEST POINT CAN NOW GIVE FIREFIGHTERS SUPPORT THEY DESERVE TO KEEP 6,500+ MILITARY FAMILIES & HUDSON VALLEY COMMUNITIES SAFE
West Point Fire Department Had Its Operating Budget Cut By A Staggering 92%, Leaving Equipment Outdated And Even Failing Inspection Despite Responding To 800 Calls Last Year– Schumer Immediately Sounded The Alarm, Standing With Firefighters Calling On Army Top Brass To Fix Years Of Problems ASAP
Just Days After His Push – Army HQ Heeded Schumer’s Call By Sending Top Brass To Meet With West Point Firefighters, Pledging To Provide $1.8 Million – 150% Of Their Original Request – To Rectify Shortfalls
Schumer: West Point’s Courageous Firefighters & First Responders Will Now Have The Support They Need To Protect Lives of Military And Orange County Families
After just two weeks ago standing shoulder to shoulder with West Point firefighters at the United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, New York, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Army has heeded his call and will immediately reverse course to fully fund the West Point Fire Department (WPFD) after it faced years of staggering budget cuts that hampered operations. Schumer said that the Army has now committed $1.8 million – 150% of WPFD’s original request this year - to replace outdated emergency response equipment and give West Point firefighters the peace of mind and financial security they have desperately needed and deserved.
“West Point firefighters rush to danger every day to keep over 6,500 military families, service members protecting our nation, and our Hudson Valley communities safe. That’s why when I found out that these firefighters only got 5% of what West Point asked for last year to replace failing equipment, I said enough is enough and immediately sounded the alarm, promising to use all of my power to get them the help they needed and deserved. Today, I’m proud to say that a promise made is now a promise kept,” said Senator Schumer. “After personally meeting our brave West Point firefighters two short weeks ago and hearing of their struggles firsthand, much like these heroes don’t hesitate to respond to an emergency, I could not rest until the problem was solved. That’s why today I am proud to announce that the Army has committed $1.8 million in new funding for West Point and its firefighters, a major boost 500k from WPFD’s original request. I thank the Army for heeding my call with this swift response to rectify these shortfalls and get our heroic West Point firefighters the modern equipment and resources they have desperately needed for far too long. Our West Point firefighters, like our service members, put their lives on the line every day for us and I am proud to finally deliver them the support they need to stay safe and be prepared to take on any emergency.”
“As a West Point graduate, I know firsthand the heroism of West Point firefighters and the tremendous service they provide to the community. So when I heard they were facing budget cuts, I sprung right into action,” said Representative Pat Ryan. “Following my letter with Senator Schumer to the Secretary of the Army, the West Point Fire Department is now better funded, allowing them to get the equipment and resources they deserve. These firefighters put their lives on the line every day for this community, and I will always fight to make sure they get the necessary support. “
For years, the West Point Fire Department
has faced massive budget cuts, including
a falling 92% from recent
years, hampering operations and its ability to repair and replace outdated emergency
response equipment. The West Point Fire Department serving the USMA and its
surrounding communities, is uniquely dependent on federal funding through U.S.
Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) for its yearly budget, creating a
different funding structure than other nearby local fire professional and
For example, last year West Point requested $1.76 million in its Management Decision Package (MDEP) for the fire and emergency services, which was validated by IMCOM. However, due to a $44.6 million non-pay shortfall across the entire program, USAG West Point only received $90,000 (5.1%) of the validated $1.76 million request. Although USAG West Point was able to reallocate $31,400 from a different account to help fund its emergency services requirements, this is still far below the funding level that WPFD needed to serve the West Point community and represents a 92% reduction in non-pay budget since 2014. In the past two years, due to these significant non-pay funding shortfalls at US Army IMCOM, several of WPFD’s emergency apparatus have failed inspection and have been unable to be repaired or replaced, including but not limited to thermal imaging cameras, breathing air cylinders, structural gear, and refrigerators.
Schumer’s office had worked with West Point firefighters for months to address this problem, culminating in Senator Schumer personally visiting last week to stand at West Point to demand the Army rectify these shortfalls and give the WPFD the support it needs to keep the over 6,500 military families they serve and Hudson Valley communities safe. The senator also wrote directly to the Secretary of the Army to highlight this issue, demanding the WPFD receive the full request for fire and emergency services, and urge the Army to start work straightaway to address how funding shortfalls have impacted fire departments like West Point and potentially at the other IMCOM garrisons.
In an immediate response to Schumer’s calls, the Army sent General Daly, Commanding General of Army Materiel Command and Major General Tickner, Deputy Commander of IMCOM to West Point to meet with the firefighters and assure them that their request would be fully met for FY23, and vowed to ensure that moving forward, West Point Fire Department would receive sufficient funding for operations and equipment. Additionally, Secretary Wormuth promised that the Army would expedite the delivery of two repaired fire trucks and a new pumper truck in February 2023, followed by the completion of a $4.6 million renovation of the Washington Road fire station by September 2023.
A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth appears below:
Dear Secretary Wormuth:
We write to request your immediate attention and assistance to ensure the West Point Fire Department (WPFD) receives its full funding authorization and is sufficiently equipped with emergency response equipment. In the past two years, due to significant non-pay funding shortfalls at US Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), several of WPFD’s emergency apparatus have failed inspection and have been unable to be repaired or replaced, including but not limited to thermal imaging cameras, breathing air cylinders, structural gear, and refrigerators.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, US Army Garrison (USAG) West Point requested $1.76 million in its Management Decision Package (MDEP) for the fire and emergency services, which was validated by IMCOM. However, due to a $44.6 million non-pay shortfall across the entire program, USAG West Point only received $90,000 of the validated $1.76 million request. Although USAG West Point was able to reallocate $31,400 from a different account to help fund its emergency services requirements, this is still far below the funding level that WPFD needs to serve the West Point community.
This funding issue has put a serious strain on WPFD’s resources, which protects nearly 6,500 service members and their families as well as tens of thousands more in the surrounding communities. It is imperative that we provide our firefighters with the resources they need to protect the service members who protect our nation.
USAG West Point requested $1.235 million for fire and emergency services in its MDEP for FY23. This funding will be essential in boosting firefighter safety and mission success, and conducting equipment repairs and replacements that should have been completed in FY22. Considering the challenges imposed by the funding shortfall in FY22 and the current state of WPFD’s equipment, we urge you to support and fully execute USAG West Point’s FY23 MDEP funding request. We also ask that you consider how the funding shortfalls over the last few years have impacted fire departments at the other 78 IMCOM garrisons and how the Army can avoid this issue moving forward.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and your commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our service members. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our offices with any questions.
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