Schumer Announces Hudson Valley Receives Over $404,000 In Federal Grants

Schumer: 23 Emergency Response Programs Across New York State will Receive Over $1.7 Million as Part of U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Fire Grant ProgramSchumer says Federal Grant will Help Fire Departments and Organizations pay for Improvements to During Difficult Fiscal TimesSchumer has Pushed for Additional Funding for Assistance to Fire Departments and First Responders

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that five emergency response departments in Hudson Valley have received federal grants totaling $404,403 from the 2005 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Hudson Valley fire departments will use the grants for operations and safety.

This funding will go a long way in supporting the fire and emergency response departments in Hudson Valley, 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 Hudson Valley get the resources they need to keep us safe.

Five grants totaling $404,403 were awarded as part of the fifth round of DHS FY05 to fire departments and emergency response organizations in five Hudson Valley communities, including: the KerhonksonAccord First Aid Squad ($82,162) in Ulster County; the Pawling Fire Department ($71,250) in Dutchess County; the Croton Fire Department ($57,000) in Westchester County; the Blue Point Fire District ($158,261) in Ulster County and the Buchanan Engine Company No. 1 Inc. ($35,730) in Westchester County.

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 $108 million to New Yorks fire departments.

Schumer found that the Administrations cut to the program in their federal budget for FY05 could shortchange New York emergency response programs by $16 million. In response, Schumer urged the Congress and White House to bolster the Administrations proposal by sending the full $900 million originally promised by Congress.

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 first responders in Hudson Valley continue to have the basic resources they require to do their jobs, improve safety and save lives, said Schumer. "Local emergency response 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 will that 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 Departments 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 http://www.firegrantsupport.com.

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