WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two local fire departments are among five central New York agencies recently awarded funding through a federal program designed to assist fire departments with operations support and improved firefighter safety.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced more than $830,000 for central New York firefighting companies, including roughly $648,000 for the Scriba Volunteer Fire Department and $50,000 for the Fulton Fire Department. The funding allotted to Scriba and Fulton comes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
The federal funding will assist Scriba in purchasing self-contained breathing apparatus, with the Fulton Fire Department slated to purchase equipment to wash and dry firefighters’ protective gear.
Fulton Fire Chief David Eiffe said the department is excited to be the recipient of the $49,953 AFG award from FEMA, noting the funding would be used to purchase and install personal protective equipment washers/extractors and dryers in the city’s east and west side fire stations. Eiffe said the funds would also allow for the purchase and installation of a mask washing station.
“All of these pieces of equipment will allow us to have safe, clean gear after any incident where it may have been exposed to contamination and reduce the risk of cancer for our people,” the fire chief said. “We are grateful to FEMA for the award and proud to accept it on behalf of our hardworking community in the city of Fulton. Without this grant money, these types of purchases are not necessarily possible as they are just too expensive to incorporate into our operating budget.”
The Scriba Volunteer Fire Department is slated to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which are used by firefighters and other rescue workers to provide breathable air in dangerous environments, with a $648,181 grant.
According to the Scriba department’s website, roughly 15 firefighters are certified to use SCBA equipment.
Scriba Chief Shawn Simoneau said the grant would “greatly” help the department and others in the area.
Schumer called first responders in central New York and across the state “our local heroes and our first line of defense for safety and security,” adding it’s critical officials do everything possible to ensure firefighters and other emergency personnel are equipped and prepared to take on emergencies.
“It is essential that we provide our firefighters with the equipment they need to stay safe on the job,” Schumer said in a statement.
Gillibrand vowed to continue fighting in the U.S. Senate to ensure local fire departments have the necessary resources to protect the communities in which they serve.
“Every day our first responders put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe,” Gillibrand said, adding the funding would help firefighters respond to emergencies safely and efficiently.
Other central New York departments funding allotments include $23,700 for the Fleming Volunteer Fire Department #1, $24,950 for the Dewitt Fire District and $85,000 for the Cortlandville Fire District.
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations, and State Fire Training Academies. The funding is used to “equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability and support community resilience,” officials said.