(WBEN) - Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced more than $130,000 in federal funding for Erie County Fire Departments on Friday.
The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The Buffalo Fire Department plans to use its $69,971 in federal funds to create a health and wellness program for firefighters as well as expand their Employee Assistance Program capabilities. This Health and Wellness Program will allow firefighters to train and exercise.
The West Seneca Fire District will use its $67,222 to purchase six mobile radio units that will be fitted in fire trucks and 29 portable radio units, all of which will permit better communication between emergency dispatchers and firefighters. Mobile radio units cost approximately $2,800 per unit and portable radios cost approximately $2,100 per unit. These radios will replace the West Seneca Fire District’s more than 20-year-old radios and are more energy efficient, as the batteries last longer.
“These much-needed funds will allow these Erie County fire departments to invest in the resources and equipment they need to do their jobs effectively and save lives,” said Schumer in a statement. “With this funding, the Buffalo Fire Department will be able to invest in training and health and wellness services for its firefighters. The West Seneca Fire Department will now be able to provide its firefighters the radios and technology they need to communicate during emergencies."
“These new radios are going to vastly improve our communications and make sure our firefighters can talk to each other and remain safe. Our old units were 20 years old. This is a really big help," said West Seneca Fire Commissioner Tom Gasiewicz in a statement.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants are 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.