Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Village of East Aurora Mayor David DiPietro announced that the East Aurora Fire Department will receive $21,975 in federal Homeland Security funding in the twenty-second round of Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program (AFGP) awards for fiscal year 2007.
“Each and every day our firefighters fulfill a selfless mission and put their lives on the line to save the lives of their neighbors,” said Congressman Higgins. “This funding provides our local first responders with additional resources to protect themselves and the communities they serve.”
Established in 1870, the East Aurora Fire Department has 60 active volunteer firefighters who provide services to the Village of East Aurora and a portion of the Town of Aurora. Located on Oakwood and King, the Department answers approximately 500 fire, EMS and rescue calls each year. The fire company has been awarded this grant under the AFGP Operations and Safety Program which makes funds available for training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and health and safety modifications to stations and facilities.
“We appreciate this federal funding which advances efforts to provide our local firefighters with the best and newest equipment and training currently available,” said Mayor DiPietro. “We have worked proactively with the fire department to pursue improvements to emergency services in the Village including plans for a new, expanded fire hall which we hope to break ground on this year.”
Fire Chief Roger LeBlanc said, “This is an excellent example of the emergency response partnership between this local fire department, Congressman Higgins, and the Department of Homeland Security. In 2007 the East Aurora Fire Department built an important training tower, smoke house, and classroom using private funds. Now we will have training materials and training equipment for this local facility to train our firefighters to a much higher level.”
Over the last several years Congressman Higgins has hosted fire grant workshops where participants are invited to learn first hand from a DHS Fire Grant Specialist how to put together a qualifying application. All applications are then submitted to DHS and go through a non-partisan, merit based review ranked by factors established by a panel of fire service professionals. Over the last several years, fire companies in Congressman Higgins’ district have received over $5 million dollars.
The 2007 program, which Congress appropriated, and President Bush signed into law, includes $490 million in direct assistance to firefighters to improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, and to establish or expand fire prevention programs throughout the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (SLGCP) administers the program, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
For more information about the grant program please contact Congressman Higgins’ office at 852-3501.