U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $128,464 in federal funding for the Silver Springs Fire Department to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) and an air compressor and fill station. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand appealed personally to DHS Secretary Janet A. Napolitano and FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate on behalf of the Silver Springs Fire Department. In their letters, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand urged FEMA to fully fund the Silver Springs Fire Department's request for funding to upgrade their SCBA units and air compressor in order to replace outdated units and ensure that the fire department meets current safety standards.
"With this funding, Silver Springs fire fighters can focus on their important work, knowing they have new and reliable equipment," said Senator Schumer. "This investment for new SCBA equipment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible."
"This is an important investment for the Silver Springs Fire Department," said Senator Gillibrand. "It's our responsibility to ensure that our first responders have the most up-to-date and appropriate equipment necessary to serve our communities. These new SCBA packs and air compressor can help the Silver Springs Fire Department cut costs, respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively, while helping to save more lives."
"The Silver Springs Fire Department is limited in resources and has been unable to replace our current air pack equipment which are over 14 years old." Silver Springs Fire Department Chief John R. Proper said. "The air pack equipment will be expiring according to NFPA standards in the next year. These packs are imperative to our volunteer firefighter's safety."
Currently, the Silver Springs Fire Department firefighters have to travel 20 miles in order to fill their air tanks costing precious time and resources. The Silver Springs Fire Department will use the Federal Funding to purchase new 16 SCBA packs and an air compressor and fill station which will help their firefighters better serve their community of over 4,000 and save taxpayer dollars.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists local fire departments in programs and activities to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks; enhancement of emergency medical services programs; development of health and safety initiatives; establishment of fire education and prevention programs; creation of wellness and fitness programs; and equipment and facility upgrades.
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. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/ .
A copy of Senator Gillibrand's letter is attached. A copy of Senator Schumer's letter appears below.
August 14, 2012
The Honorable Janet A. Napolitano
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Avenue Center, NW
Washington, D.C. 20528
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Silver Springs Fire Department for funding under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (Application No. EMW 2012-FO-03506). Such funding will enable Silver Springs Fire Department to purchase critical fire safety equipment.
The Silver Springs Volunteer Fire Department recently submitted a request to the 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program for funding to replace 16 sets of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and a 20-year old compressor and fill station. This equipment will greatly enhance the ability of our volunteers to protect approximately 4,000 year-round and 1,500 seasonal residents of southeastern Wyoming County.
The SCBA equipment to be replaced is 12 years old, and does not meet current standards for either firefighter safety or firefighting effectiveness. Its SCBA "paks" are heavy and cumbersome, have broken or defective straps, and lack speakers, heads-up displays (HUD) and rapid intervention universal air couplings. Furthermore, its PASS alarms don't always work and in the winter our mask diaphragms freeze and can't take in air. Replacing this equipment will help protect firefighters as they respond to approximately 75 fires and other emergencies each year that require breathing support. I applaud the Silver Springs Volunteer Fire Department for its foresight, and I sincerely hope its application for funding meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator