U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer recently announced that four fire departments on Long Island have received federal grants totaling $602,060 as part of Round 1 of the FY09 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The funding will be used to improve operations and safety at the Incorporated Village of Floral Park, which received $142,500, Oceanside Fire Department/Fire District, which received $360,000, Amityville Fire Department, which received $71,060, and Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which received $28,500.
“These essential grants ensure that the fire departments in Nassau and Suffolk County will continue to have the basic resources required to do their jobs, improve safety and save lives,” said Schumer. “First responders across Long Island have been hurting from budget cuts while firefighters deal with the everyday stress of their work. These funds are life-saving investments that will provide our local first responders with indispensable resources and support so they can be better prepared for emergencies.”
Schumer was among the first senators who recognized the need for the federal government to establish a funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Operations and Firefighter Safety 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.
Schumer added: “We can never truly repay our first responders for their heroic efforts and dedication to duty. But we can make certain that they have the training and resources they need to do their job and do their job well. This federal money will ensure that the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us get the resources they need to keep themselves and our communities safe.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security 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.