The Office of Congressman Gary Palmer congratulates the Oneonta Fire and Rescue Service on being awarded a $174,286 grant by the Department of Homeland Security through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The department's application competed against thousands through a peer review process for a portion of federal funding.
"When I visited the Oneonta Fire and Rescue Service, I was impressed by the comradery and professionalism of the men and women who are serving that community," said Palmer. "I am pleased DHS gave due consideration to the Oneonta Fire Department and chose to assist Oneonta FD in helping the community."
Oneonta Fire and Rescue Chief Arthur Willis said a portion of the grant will be used to replace 20 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). The SCBA is used by firefighters for airway protection against the heat, smoke, and contaminants associated with firefighting.
"The SCBA's currently in use weigh approximately 30 pounds,'' Willis said. "And many of them, by industry standards, are outdated. Replacing the existing SCBA's with newer, lighter equipment will decrease the weight by almost 50 percent, which in turn decreases the physical stress placed on the individual firefighter."
Willis said the remainder of the AFG award will be used to purchase two Electrocardiogram monitors (ECG). More than 65% of Oneonta Fire and Rescue Service's incidents are emergency medical service (EMS) related, making these monitors an important diagnostic tool used to treat patients.
"The new monitors and SCBA's will allow Oneonta Fire and Rescue Service to continue to provide the best care available to the citizens and visitors of Oneonta in a safe and efficient manner,'' Willis said.
Funds awarded under the Assistance for Firefighters Grant (AFG) program are used to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations. Only the applications most closely conforming to program priorities are considered and scored by peer review panels.
The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.