Skoufis brings $1.3 million to Orange County firefighters and EMS

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HARRIMAN – State Senator James Skoufis (D, Cornwall) Thursday announced $1.3 million for nearly a dozen firefighting units.

“This may be the largest grant ever given to local firefighters from the legislature in Albany,” he said.

Joint Monroe-Harriman Engine Co. #2 Chief Rich Lenahan said the volunteers “do this for free. We don’t ask for any payback. This is our reward.”

Skoufis said he is responding to feedback from these public safety professionals that while volunteer recruitment is an increasing challenge, the cost of resources continues to rise while communities grow, and there is more property for them to protect. 

“Equipment continues to age, and trucks continue to age and the cost for all of these things continues to skyrocket,” he said. “Meanwhile, our population keeps on increasing; development is happening every day – commercial, residential – and so, there are more people and more property to protect.”

The grant will help bolster public safety and ensure much-needed resources for these volunteers, the senator said.

Pine Island Fire Chief Brian Blakener said that resources are especially challenging for a small all-volunteer district.  “Our district may be small, but our fires are just as important. Getting the best equipment will ensure that we can do the job that we have to,” he said.