The local fire departments in Alexander and Corfu are excited to receive grants to help the first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies.
Both fire departments had applied for the same grant last year, but did not receive it, and both fire chiefs said their Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs were becoming outdated.
The Alexander Fire Department will use $92,994 grant to purchase 15 SCBA air packs and 30 oxygen bottles.
Alexander Chief Marshall Merle said the new packs will be lighter and safer, helping the firefighters.
"We appreciate New York State for letting us receive the grant,” Merle said. “We’re really glad we got it this year. It’s good to help out the community and keep our guys safe.”
Merle said he worked with New York State to apply for the grant again this year.
"They were very helpful throughout this process," Merle said. "I'm happy we are getting the grant."
The Corfu Fire Department will be using the $84,191 grant to purchase 12 SCBA air packs. The packs will provide them with breathable air when responding to an emergency situation.
“We applied for the grant because the air packs that we have, have a life span,” Corfu Fire Chief Brian Schollard said. “They’re all expiring by the end of the year.”
Schollard said everyone at the fire department, himself included, has been positive about the grant.
“It’s a great thing for a small company like us,” Schollard said. “It’s nice to see [AFG] helping out small rural districts. It really is a lifesaver.”
Congressman Chris Collins announced on July 19 that the departments would receive the grants, awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
The AFG program provides direct funding assistance to fire departments, State Fire Training Academies and non-affiliated EMS organizations to enhance their response capabilities, according to the press release. The program also more effectively protects the health and safety of both the public and emergency responders with respect to fire and other hazards.
“Firefighters are selfless individuals and are essential to keeping our communities safe,” Collins said in a press release. “It is imperative that our fire departments have the resources necessary to keep their members safe while they are protecting others.”
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