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Schumer Announces Five Hudson Valley Fire Departments Will Receive Over $338,000 In Federal Fire Grants

Schumer: Twenty-Three Emergency Response Programs Across New York State Will Receive Over $2.1 Million As Part Of U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Fire Grant Program

Schumer Says Federal Grants Will Help Fire Departments 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 five fire departments in the Hudson Valley will receive federal grants totaling $338,704 from the 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Pine Plains Fire District in Dutchess County will receive a $30,541 grant; Fairview Fire District in Dutchess County will receive a $48,640 grant; Mechanicstown Fire District in Orange County will receive a $101,633 grant; Highland Falls Fire Department in Orange County will receive a $113,240 grant; and the Suffern Volunteer Fire Department in Rockland County will receive a $44,650 grant. The five grants will be used to improve operations and safety. The grants are part of the seventeenth 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 the Hudson Valley," 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 Dutchess, Orange, and Rockland Counties get the resources they need and have enough people on hand 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 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.

"These grants help ensure that the firefighters in the Hudson Valley will 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 .