Schumer Announces Two Southern Tier Fire Departments Will Receive Over $87,000 In Federal Fire Grants

Schumer: Ten Emergency Response Programs Across Upstate New York Will Receive Over $700,000 As Part Of U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Fire Grant ProgramSchumer Says Federal Grant 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 two fire departments in the Southern Tier will receive federal grants totaling $87,254 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From the fifteenth round of the DHS FY07 AFG awards, the Town of Binghamton Volunteer Fire Dept Inc. in Broome County will receive $49,923, and the Short Tract Fire Company Inc. in Allegany County will receive $37,331. The grants will be used to improve operations and safety.

"This funding will go a long way in supporting the first responders in the Southern Tier," 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 Allegany and Broome 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 $165 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 (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) 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 ensure that the firefighters in Allegany and Broome 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 http://www.firegrantsupport.com .

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