08.02.06

Schumer: Over $670,000 Coming To Southern Tier Fire Organizations

Schumer announces that 93 fire departments and organizations across New York State will receive over $8.2 million as part of U.S. Department of Homeland Securities FIRE GRANT programSchumer says federal grant will help Southern Tier pay for fire operations and fire safety in tough fiscal timesIn March, Schumer fought to restore $400 million to the FIRE grants program which would be cut un

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced over $930,000 in federal funds for eleven fire departments in the Southern Tier to pay for fire operations and fire safety. The funds are being awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"This is a great day for Southern Tier fire departments," said Schumer. "In the brave new post9/11 world, our first responders must be well trained and well equipped to deal with any problem that comes their way. This is really difficult when budget cuts are leaving them short on cash. These federal grants will help make sure that firefighters have the money they need to do their jobs."

Eleven grants for a total of $676,585 were awarded to fire departments and organizations in seven Southern Tier counties. In Allegany County, Allentown Volunteer Fire Company ($28,814), the Caneadea Fire District ($96,363), and the Andover Fire Department ($38,000) received funds for operations and fire safety. In Broome County, the Nanticoke Volunteer Fire Company ($71,630) and Union Center Fire Company ($124,500) received funds for operations and fire safety. In Otsego County, the Cooperstown Fire Department ($74,898) and WellsBridge Fire Department ($35,415) received funds for operations and fire safety. In Steuben County, the Addison Volunteer Fire Department ($19,665) and Prattsburgh Protective Volunteer Fire Department ($105,640) in Steuben County received funds for operations and fire safety. In addition, the Odessa Fire Department ($67,801) in Schuyler County and the Danby Fire District ($13,859) in Tompkins County received funds for operations and fire safety. The grants were part of the first round of DHS FY 2005 grants across the country, with more rounds to come.

A Schumer analysis of the Administration's federal budget for FY05 found that cuts to the program could shortchange New York fire departments by $16 million. In March, Schumer urged the Congress and the White House to bolster the Administration's proposal by sending the full $900 million promised to fire departments by Congress.

At Schumer's urging, fire departments and emergency services providers across New York have taken advantage of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which sends funds directly for activities such as specialized emergency response training for situations like terrorist attacks; the creation of wellness and fitness programs for firefighters; equipment and facility upgrades; new fire trucks; and fire prevention programs.

"If ever our local fire departments needed an infusion of cash from the federal government, that time is now," Schumer said. "Budget gaps are worse than they've been in a long time with little relief in sight, and the strain on local fire departments is becoming too much to bear. Add to that the heightened alert our first responders are on because of the war, and this opportunity for fire departments to get financial support is just what the doctor ordered."

The grant program, called the USFA Grants to Firefighters Program, awards grants directly to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of firefighting personnel, facing fire and firerelated hazards.

The USFA awards the grants on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. Funding is available for activities such as specialized emergency response training for situations like terrorist attacks; the creation of wellness and fitness programs for firefighters; equipment and facility upgrades; and fire prevention programs.



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