SCHUMER: SENATE DEFENSE BILL PROVIDES LIFE-SAVING SUPPORT FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK FIRE DEPTS TO HIRE & TRAIN FIREFIGHTERS, PURCHASE VITAL EQUIPMENT– URGES HOUSE CONFEREES TO REAUTHORIZE PROGRAM TO ENSURE SAFETY OF NY COMMUNITIES, BETTER ADDRESS NATURAL DISASTERS, LIKE SANDY, IRENE & LEE
Schumer Will Call on House to Prioritize Proposal to Renew & Update Life-Saving Grant Programs That Provide Local FDs With Tools & Training to Respond to Local Emergencies, Terrorist Attacks & Natural Disasters
Schumer, An Original Sponsor of AFG Fire Grant Program, Will Highlight That Senate Bill Expands Access & Availability of Funding For Staffing & Equipment, Lowers Community Matching Requirements to Make Hard-Hit Communities Eligible
Schumer Will Describe Life-Saving Rescue Efforts During Recent Storms & Breakdown of Over $51 Million Upstate NY FD’s Have Received Since 2009
Today, December 5th at 12:30pm during a conference call, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer will call on members of the House of Representatives to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grants and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants programs that fund the purchase of new equipment, training, and the hiring of new firefighters. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed late Tuesday night, the Senate included an amendment to reauthorize and improve upon these life-saving programs for Upstate New York fire departments, particularly in light of recent natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy, along with Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. The House of Representatives passed their version of the defense authorization earlier this year, which did not include the reauthorization of these grant programs. The differences between the two defense bills will be reconciled in a conference committee before being sent to the President for signature, and Schumer will call on House conferees to include this life-saving reauthorization in the final bill. Upstate New York fire departments have benefitted from about $51 million in grants under these two programs in recent years, that have helped volunteer and career fire departments in purchasing state-of-the-art breathing apparatuses, new trucks and other equipment that is essential to keeping them safe, as well as to recruit and train firefighters. At a time when so many county and local governments are strapped for cash, and natural disasters are taking a toll on local and state budgets, Schumer will stress the importance of reauthorizing and securing the future of these programs. This legislation will make improvements to these already critical grants, such as lowering community matching requirements for jurisdictions with certain population levels and introducing an economic hardship waiver for those requirements, which will be important in communities recovering from natural disasters.
On the call, Schumer will provide a county-by-county breakdown of the fire departments across the state that have received AFG or SAFER funding since 2009. He will also highlight examples of recipients that have offered life-saving and other emergency response efforts during recent storms.