U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Ulster Fire Hose Company #5 is set to receive $236,360 in federal funding to purchase new air packs that will replace their currently outdated models. The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
"With this funding, Ulster Hose Company's fire fighters can focus on their important work, knowing they have new and reliable equipment," said Senator Schumer. "This investment for new air packs 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 Ulster Hose Company #5," said Senator Gillibrand. "It's our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities. The new air packs will help the firefighters of Ulster Hose Company #5 respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively, and help save more lives."
"It is because of the efforts of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer that funding remained in place with the Department of Homeland Security to continue to provide Fire Departments nationwide the opportunity to apply for supplemental funds" Ulster Hose Company #5 Fire Chief Sam Appa said. "This not only gives the Firefighters of Ulster Hose Co No 5 the absolute finest equipment to work with, but additionally it keeps the cost off the backs of the taxpayers of the Town of Ulster."
Located in Kingston, the Ulster Hose Company #5 is an all-volunteer fire company with 90 active members. Ulster Hose Company #5 will use the federal funds to purchase 50 new air packs that will replace currently obsolete air packs to increase firefighter safety and efficiency. This increase in firefighter safety will help the firefighters protect the community as they respond to over 1,200 calls annually.
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.