U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department is set to receive $126,825 in federal funding to purchase new Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or SCBA, air packs.
The money was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
"With this funding, Westfield firefighters will be safer as they pursue their important work protecting life and property," Senator Schumer said. "This investment for new SCBA equipment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work and will enable them to respond as effectively and safely as possible."
"This is an important investment for the fire department of Westfield," Senator Gillibrand said. "It's our responsibility to ensure our first responders have the most up-to-date equipment to serve our communities. These new air packs will help the fire department of Westfield respond to emergencies more efficiently and effectively and help save more lives."
"We are grateful to be awarded this grant to enhance fire fighter safety," Westfield Fire Department Chief Stephen Pacanowski said. "Without these funds, it will have taken time to update the equipment needed to adhere to State mandates."
The Westfield Fire Department will use the federal funding to purchase 20 new SCUBA air packs, which will enhance the ability for self-escaping for interior fire fighters and meet current regulations set by the New York State Department of Labor. This investment will allow it to respond to calls at the highest efficiency and serve the nearly 5,000 residents in its jurisdiction as safely as possible.
Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation leading to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The AFG Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
The AFG 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.
The AFGs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security FEMA in cooperation with the Department's United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants which most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the AFG Program can be accessed at www.firegrantsupport.com.