U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $106,666.66 in federal funding for the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department in St. Lawrence County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and will be used to replace 14 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) devices with spare bottles and masks, which help firefighters breathe clean air. The department’s current SCBAs are more than 15 years old.
“It is essential that we provide our firefighters with the equipment they need to stay safe on the job,” said Senator Schumer. “Our first responders in St. Lawrence County are our local heroes and our first line of defense for safety and security. By allowing the courageous firefighters of the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department to purchase new breathing equipment, this grant will help ensure their health and safety in any emergency.”
“I am proud to announce this funding for the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department, which will be able to replace old SCBA packs so that our firefighters can breathe safely while they protect our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our hardworking firefighters risk their lives every day when responding to local emergencies, and I will do everything I can in the Senate to ensure that they have the resources needed to do their jobs safely.”
“The West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department is excited to receive word we have been awarded a 2018 AFG. The grant will be used to replace aging SCBA for all riding positions on our apparatus. Current SCBA are over 15 years old and in need of replacement. The West Potsdam Fire Department will use this $106,000 federal grant to improve operations and safety by purchasing new SCBA. This SCBA plays a key role in protecting firefighters while operating in hazardous conditions. As a small Rural Department Grants such as the AFG are essential in assisting us with keeping equipment up to date. West Potsdam Volunteer fire department would like to thank Senator Schumer and his office for supporting grant programs such as the AFG,” said Robert B. Pierce, past Chief/Treasurer of the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department.
The AFG Program is 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. More information on the AFG Program can be found here.