Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced that the Clifton Fire Department, the Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, and the Point Pleasant Fire District will receive a total of $279,639 in federal grants in Round 20 of the FY12 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. AFG awards are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are designed to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. The Clifton Fire Department will receive $112,792 to replace all self-contained breathing apparatuses over 15 years old. The Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department will receive $112,317 to purchase breathing units that are over 20 years old, and the Point Pleasant Fire Department will receive $54,530 funding to purchase a new hose and related equipment in order to maintain better water supply at fires.
"With this funding, first responders across Monroe County can focus on their important work knowing that they have reliable new equipment," said Senator Schumer. "These investments will help ensure that our local heroes at Sea Breeze, Clifton and Point Pleasant Departments can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible with more efficient gear."
"This is an important investment for the Clifton Fire Department, Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, Point Pleasant Fire District and Monroe County," said Senator Gillibrand. "It's our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities at their highest level. The new SCBA units along with the new hose and water maintenance supplies will help these fire departments respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively, and help save more lives."
"The funding will be used to purchase 20 new SCBA units that will replace the current equipment that is over 20 years old. The Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department is the oldest fire department in the Town of Irondequoit, celebrating 105 years of service; this grant is very welcome news to us," said Chief Dave Deroller of the Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department.
"The grant will be used to purchase new large diameter hose and related equipment to better assist us in compliance with today's standards as well as replace aging equipment. This new hose will help us to maintain a better water supply and flow at fires, thus helping to keep our firefighters safe," said Chief Steve Derleth of the Point Pleasant Fire Department.
"The Clifton Fire Department Inc. is extremely pleased with the announcement of the award through the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program," Clifton Fire Department President George Emens said. "The grant will enhance the health and safety of our firefighters. This will not only benefit our firefighters, but also the residents of our fire protection area and neighboring fire departments that we respond with for mutual aid. Even though the fire department has been budgeting monies for the SCBA replacement over the last few years it is an extremely large expenditure for a small rural fire department. In these difficult economic times, the grant will be a welcomed relief to our annual budget process and to the taxpayers in our fire district. The award will be used to our replace our self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) which are over fifteen years old. The SCBA is worn by a firefighter to provide breathing air when responding to fires, reports of carbon monoxide, natural gas / propane fumes and other inhalation hazards. There have been many advances in technology since our current SCBA were manufactured. The new SCBA will provide our firefighters with many new safety features, significantly less weight to carry and are easier to use."
Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
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.