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Schumer Helped Create The AFG & SAFER Grant Which Delivered Today’s Funding- And Schumer Says Boosts Like This Are Why He Is Fighting To Save The Program From Being Eliminated This Year

Schumer, Gillibrand: Fed $$$ Will Help Hire the Next Generation of Firefighters In Utica To Keep Community Safe

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $ $2,117,320 in federal funding for the City of Utica to hire up to 8 new firefighters. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program. Schumer is currently leading the charge to save these federal firefighting programs that are set to expire at the end of this year which delivered this funding to Cortland.

“From being on the frontline during Covid to fighting fires, our Utica firefighters work non-stop keeping our communities safe. That is why when I heard our fire departments were struggling to keep up staffing, I promised to deliver the fed dollars to give our heroes the support they need. So I am proud to deliver this major over $2 million federal boost to hire the next generation of firefighters in Utica,” said Senator Schumer. “I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters and today’s funding will help keep the Utica Fire Department prepared to take on any emergency. I will not stop holding congressional feet to the fire until we pass the bill to save this federal lifeline for our New York fire departments and first responders so they can continue to tap this resource for years to come.”

“Utica’s brave firefighters put their lives on the line to keep our communities and families safe,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We owe it to them to ensure that they have the resources and personnel they need to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. Today, I’m proud to be delivering over $2.1 million in federal funding to hire the next generation of firefighters in Utica and I will keep fighting to get more federal dollars to our first responders.”

Schumer originally created the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program in 1999, which later expanded to also include the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, which funded Utica’s grant today. Currently though, both the AFG and SAFER program are at risk of being eliminated, endangering millions in funding for Upstate New York Fire Departments. Since the program’s inception they have provided nearly $700 million to fire departments across New York.

Earlier this year, Schumer launched an all-out push to save these programs that are set to expire at the end of this fiscal year. Specifically, Schumer and Gillibrand are helping lead the charge on the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023 which would reauthorize funding for the U.S. Fire Administration, the AFG, and SAFER Grant Program through FY2030. The bill also extends the sunset for both SAFER and AFG from 2024 to 2032. The bill would increase the authorization for the U.S. Fire Administration by about $20 million, while maintain the authorized funding level for SAFER and AFG at $750 million.

The AFG and SAFER grant programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to purchase essential equipment and help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter of support for the grant appears below:

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

I am pleased to write in support of the application (EMW-2021-FF-01362) submitted by

the City of Utica Fire Department (UFD) for funding through the Department of Homeland

Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate

Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program.

The Utica Fire Department is located in Oneida County, New York. UFD is an all-career

district. UFD are the first-due responders for an area of 19 square miles, providing aid to a

mostly urban community and protecting critical infrastructure in the area.

With funding, UFD will hire 8 new firefighters. These new firefighters will ensure the

region is in compliance with the National Response Framework established by the Department of

Homeland Security.

I applaud the Utica Fire Department for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application

meets with your approval.