SCHUMER REVEALS: LONG ISLAND FIRE DEPTS NEED A MAJOR RESCUE; FIREHOSE OF FED FUNDS THAT’S FUELED OVER 90 LI DEPARTMENTS RECENTLY WITH MILLIONS OF BADLY-NEEDED DOLLARS TO SAVE LIVES & LOCAL BUDGETS IS NOW IN LIMBO; FEMA FUNDS FOR LI ARE ONLY AUTHORIZED THROUGH THIS YEAR AS REQUEST FOR LOCAL HELP PILES UP; SENATOR & DEPTS PUSH FIX
East Williston FD Needs 27 New Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses Because The Old Ones Are Aging Out AND Other LI Depts Need New Equipment To Keep Pace With Tech & The Times – This Is All At Risk Unless Schumer-Created Programs Called ‘Assistance To Firefighters Grants’ & SAFER Are Restored By Congress; They Go Dark At Year’s End & Future Uncertain
Without Fed Help, LI Taxpayers Will Shoulder Singular Cost Of Expensive Equipment Used Almost Daily On The Island & Public Safety Could Suffer; 20 LI’ers Already Died In Fires In Past Year & 6 FFs Have Been Injured; Senator Details Bipartisan Push To Restore Fed Fire Program LI Needs In Order To Serve & Protect
Schumer: LI Fire Depts Smell Smoke & We Are Launching A Push To Throw Cold Water On Fed Inaction Before It Can Spread
Standing with firefighters and public safety supporters at the East Willison Fire Department, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that Long Island fire departments are nail-biting over the future of a federal funding programs they not only use – but really need to save lives and keep safe. Schumer said the FEMA programs he wrote, called Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG), and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants are in limbo because they’re not authorized for funding beyond 2023 and that doing so will require the Senate and the House to pass legislation to extend them, and include the program in the overall budget. Schumer said there is great worry that some folks will seek cuts for the sake of cuts and that AFG and SAFER grants are amongst the top target of myopic members.
“Long Island has a very unique need when it comes to the work of fire departments and fire fighters, and that is why federal help is so critical here,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “First, the island is huge. Second, it’s got a lot of people. Third, diverse structures. So, whether it’s paid or volunteer, this Island has needs that are a lot like the city, and that costs dollars, but it should not be all on the backs of locals. In fact, it can’t be. They cannot afford to shoulder the full costs of fire and EMS safety.”
“Look, since the start of the AFG and SAFER programs, which I helped create, New York has received nearly $700 million in federal funding through these critical programs, and a big chunk, millions, have come here to Long Island-but we need more because the work is never done. We’ve secured money for new fire trucks, better equipment, and to hire more firefighters across the Island in communities that need them most. I’ve fought my whole career to bring more support to our brave firefighters. Every day they save lives and I promise that I will not stop holding congressional feet to the fire until we pass the bill that saves this federal lifeline for our New York fire departments and first responders,” Schumer added.
Over the last 20 years, Schumer’s fire department programs have delivered nearly $700 million in federal funding to NY firefighters and first responders, including millions for Long Island. He warned today that if new legislation doesn’t pass, Long Island fire departments will not be able to access this funding in 2024.
Schumer and over 70 Long Island Fire Departments said AFG grants are not only critical to public safety but also to local budgets. In addition, over 20 Long Island fire departments have benefited from millions in SAFER funds. Schumer detailed millions of dollars he’s helped bring to Long Island fire departments in the past several years, that absent the AFG & SAFER funds, might actually mean less fire service and fire fighters on the Island. Schumer revealed how East Williston needs new breathing equipment to the tune of $200,000 that it cannot afford alone. Schumer announced he plans to team-up with LI fire departments in making the case for the AFG & SAFER programs nationally and that the LI firefighters won’t rest until a fix is final. Schumer detailed his plan, sounded the alarm and shared details from recent LI fires that could have been much worse --or more tragic-- were it not for the fed funds that help equip Long Island’s firefighting heroes.
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, and the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) programs.
Specifically, the Fire Grants and Safety Act would reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration, the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response 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.
Schumer detailed a fire in Great Neck fire (Cedar Ave) yesterday that was controlled because departments had the tools and the technology to contain them, and he said, today, that we must ensure this preparedness never wanes. ALL of the departments at the scene received Schumer-backed AFG funds in 2020 or 2021:
WILLISTON PARK FD: 2021-SCBA (Regional award with East Williston FD)
EAST WILLISTON FD: 2021-PPE (Regional award with Williston Park FD)
ALBERTSON FD: 2021-PPE
GREAT NECK VIGILANT HOOK AND LADDER CO.: 2020-RADIOS; 2021-PPE
GREAT NECK ALERT FIRE COMPANY: 2020-SCBA
PORT WASHINGTON FD: 2020-RADIOS, 2021 RESCUE TRUCK.
PORT WASHINGTON FIRE MEDIC COMPANY #1: EMS PPE
MINEOLA FD: 2018-SCBA
ROSLYN RESCUE FD 2020-radios
Many of the fire departments standing with Senator Schumer today also responded to the commercial building fire in Flower Hill in February. About 125 firefighters from more than 30 departments responded to the fire and battled the blaze on Northern Blvd.