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Schumer Announces Four Southern Tier Fire Departments Will Receive Over $813,000 In Federal Fire Grants

Schumer: Twenty-four Response Programs Across New York State Will Receive Over $2.5 Million As Part Of U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Fire Grant Program

Schumer Says Federal Grant Will Help Fire Departments And Organizations Pay For Improvements During Difficult Fiscal Times

Schumer Has Successfully Pushed For Additional Funding For Assistance To Fire Departments A

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that four Southern Tier fire departments have received federal grants totaling $813,842 from the FY06 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). WiscoyRossburg Volunteer Fire Department Inc. in Allegany County will receive a $133,452 grant; Sherburne Fire Department in Chenango County will receive a $498,750 grant; and Laurens Fire Department in Otsego County will receive a $140,980 grant. All three grants will be used for vehicle acquisitions. In addition, Westford Volunteer Fire Department in Otsego County will receive a $40,660 grant to improve operations and safety. The grants are part of the tenth 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 Southern Tier, said Schumer. "We can never truly repay our firefighters and first responders for their heroic efforts and dedication to duty. However, we can ensure that they have the training, equipment and resources they need to do their job well. This is even more necessary when local budget cuts are leaving them without enough funding. This federal money will help make sure that firefighters in Allegany, Chenango and Otsego 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 2007, Congress has authorized $1 billion for the program, $707 million more than the $293 million included in the Administration's budget proposal. The FY07 DHS Appropriations bill, passed by the House and Senate, 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 Vehicle Acquisition Program funds will go towards pumpers, brush/attack units, tanks, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam trucks, and fire boats. 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.

"This grant ensures that the firefighters in the Southern Tier 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 .