WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have announced $2,336,433 in federal funding for nine fire departments across Upstate New York to aid in the recruitment and retention of volunteers. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program.
Locally, the Rombout Fire Company in Fishkill, with approximately 50 volunteer firefighters, received $52,875 from the SAFER grant program. Easily recognizable by the color of their apparatus, the department’s rigs are painted in 1947 Cadillac Lotus Cream. Using two fire stations, the district provides coverage to the 2.4 Million Square foot Gap/Old Navy
Distribution warehouse, which is the largest single use warehouse in the United States as well as several national hotel chains with over 1000 hotel rooms. The district also has large retailers such as Walmart/Supercenter, Sams Club, and Home Depot. The district also includes portions of the highly-trafficked Interstate 84, Route 9, and Route 52.
“From the peak of the pandemic to normal times, our brave firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their communities,” said Senator Schumer. “These courageous first responders deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs. I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our heroic firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding so Upstate Fire Departments can actively recruit and resolve staffing issues without bearing the financial stress.”
“New York’s first responders have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe throughout the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As we enter fire season amidst a global pandemic, we must ensure our fire departments across New York have the resources needed to hire and retain firefighters. I will always fight to secure the funding our fire departments need to stay safe as they enter the line of duty.”
The Firemens Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is receiving $1,760,000 under SAFER. The organization, based in Albany, is the organization that assists volunteer fire and EMS services, and the public they protect, through education, advocacy, recruitment and retention, recognition and community service. FASNY also provides a safe-haven for former volunteer firefighters at the FASNY Firemen’s Home in Hudson. The FASNY Firemen’s Home is dedicated to providing a home-like setting and personalized care for those volunteer firefighters who have served their communities, but can no longer care for themselves. It is governed by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) Board of Directors and guided by an appointed Board of Trustees, the Firemen’s Home has been the only facility in the world exclusively dedicated to volunteer firefighters for more than 125 years.
The SAFER grant program was established by FEMA within DHS to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.