POTSDAM — A federal grant of more than $106,000 will help the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department replace 14 self-contained breathing apparatus devices with spare bottles and masks, which help firefighters breathe clean air, officials said.
Through the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the fire department received $106,666.66 that will replace the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) which is more than 15 years old.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., made the announcement, each praising the work of the volunteers and the need to keep them supplied with up-to-date equipment.
“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,” Sen. Schumer said.
“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,” Sen. Gillibrand said.
Robert B. Pierce, past chief/treasurer of the West Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department, thanked the senators and was quoted in the release as saying the department was excited about the grant and the replacement of the aging equipment.
“Current SCBA are over 15 years old and in need of replacement,” Mr. Pierce said. “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.”
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.