U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Scotia Fire Department is set to receive $31,464 in Round 29 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 Scotia Fire Department will use funding to purchase 20 new sets of turn-out gear for fire fighters, replacing decade old sets.
Senator Gillibrand appealed personally to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate on behalf of the Scotia Fire Department. In her letter, Senator Gillibrand urged FEMA to fully fund the Scotia Fire Department's request for funding to upgrade their personal protective equipment in order to replace outdated units and ensure that the fire department meets current safety standards
"With this funding, Scotia firefighters 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 can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible with new turn-out gear."
"This is an important investment for the Scotia Fire Department," said Senator Gillibrand. "It's our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities. The turnout gear will help the Scotia Fire Department upgrade their emergency response equipment so that their firefighters can respond to emergencies in the community safely and more effectively, and help save more lives."
Scotia Fire Chief Charles R. Keller said "The Scotia Fire Department is a combination department comprised of thirteen career and fifteen volunteer firefighters. This Assistance to Firefighter Grant award will enable us to replace fourteen complete sets of NFPA compliant firefighter turnout gear. The members of the Scotia Fire Department are extremely grateful for Senator Kristen Gillibrand's assistance in obtaining this grant. Without this grant the purchase of the new personal protective equipment would not be possible."
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. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/ .