According to the report, there are two grant programs that make federal funds available to local fire departments: the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER). Schumer is quoted as saying, "The SAFER Grant program . . . helps our career departments hire new firefighters and our volunteer departments recruit and retain members. So the SAFER Grant is about membership. People. The AFG is about equipment. And we need both." Both programs, the report points out, have seen a decrease in funding since 2011.
The report goes on to say: "Schumer worries local fire departments may be forced to choose between waiting another year and using outdated, potentially dangerous equipment, or purchasing equipment immediately and without federal funding, passing the burden along to local taxpayers."
In 2013, a new firetruck was purchased for J. W. Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Company. During his campaign for re-election, Mayor William Hallenbeck often boasted that the new apparatus had been purchased without incurring debt, but there was never mention of grant funding being available, sought, or awarded for the purchase.
|Photo: Neal Van Deusen|
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