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Fire Depts. In Essex & Jefferson Counties Will Use Funding To Purchase Critical Equipment To Keep Firefighters Safe

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $234,081 in federal funding for two fire departments in the North Country. The funding was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. Specifically, the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department in Essex County will receive $34,286 in funding to purchase 15 new sets of personal protective equipment sets as well as replace its 1,000 foot long fire hose, which is over 20 years old. The Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service in Jefferson County will receive $199,795 to upgrade its radio system and purchase new portable radios for firefighters as well as in-vehicle radios for their trucks.   

“It is critical that we provide our local fire departments with the most up-to-date equipment they need to keep our citizens safe and do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense – it is crucial we provide them with the resources and cutting-edge tools they need to continue their important work of saving lives.”

“These federal funds will allow the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department and the Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service to purchase the up-to-date equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and stay safe while they are protecting our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to protect the men and women who risk their lives every day in the face of danger, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure that our fire departments are funded and equipped.” 

“The Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department is grateful and excited to be awarded the Assistance to Firefighters Grant,” said Upper Jay Fire Chief John Devlin. “Grants such as this make it possible for rural fire departments keep up with today's safety standards.”

“The funding will be used to procure radio equipment that will improve interagency communications and ensure compliance with mandated communication system upgrades,” said Thousand Islands ERS Operations Chief Michael Bennett. “Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service and the Town of Clayton Fire District look forward to the implementation of the new radio equipment and the enhanced level of service the new equipment will bring to the fifteen hundred calls for service the agencies provide annually. We thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support and for this funding.” 

The Assistance to Firefighters Grants are administered by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency 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. Funding is allocated to strengthen the overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. Funding is allocated to strengthen emergency preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at