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Higgins Announces over $250,000 Federal Grant to the North Tonawanda Fire Department

Jul 13, 2017
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that the North Tonawanda Fire Department has been awarded $250,010 in grant funding through the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.  This significant federal award will allow the North Tonawanda Fire Department to purchase 50 new Self-Contained Breath Apparatus (SCBA) units, equipment firefighters wear to provide breathable air when entering smoke-filled buildings.

“Firefighters put their lives on the line every day protecting our communities,” said Higgins.  “This will allow for the brave men and women of North Tonawanda Fire Department to purchase much-needed, up-to-date equipment improving their personal safety and that of the neighborhoods they serve.” 

North Tonawanda Firefighter and Grant Writer Robert Orlowski said, “This couldn’t come at a more critical time.  The Department’s existing SCBA units are over 15 years old, have reached their usable lifespan and were set to expire next month.  This updated breathing equipment will greatly improve firefighter safety.”

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program will offer approximately $310 million to fire departments, State Fire Training Academies, and non-affiliated EMS organizations around the country. The Department of Homeland Security offers this program with the goal of strengthening the Nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire. 

These awards are administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. All applications are then submitted to DHS and go through a non-partisan, merit based review ranked by factors established by a panel of service professionals. Congressman Higgins has hosted workshops detailing the application process for Assistance to Firefighter Grants.

The North Tonawanda Fire Department is a combination department with 38 career firefighters and approximately 100 volunteers.  The City of North Tonawanda Fire Department provides fire and rescue services to a population of over 30,000.