Congressman Chris Collins has announced $167,340 in federal funding for three local fire companies: Rapids Fire Co., located in Niagara County, will receive $64,029; Clarence Fire District No. 1, located in Erie County, will receive $63,456; and Shelby Fire Co., located in Orleans County, will receive $39,855.
The grants were allocated through the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.
"Providing the necessary funding for our first responders is an excellent and prudent use of federal money," Collins said. "Our local heroes need the proper resources to do their jobs and protect our communities. Many small fire companies and emergency medical service providers are unable to purchase necessary equipment upgrades due to financial limitations. This funding will help create more efficient and effective first responders, and I am honored to help these local fire companies secure federal grants."
"Rapids Fire Co. would like to thank DHS and FEMA for awarding us the regional AFG grant," Assistant Chief Aaron Bair said. "This funding will allow us to upgrade our company's jaws-of-life equipment. Every day, the automotive industry is changing the metals used in vehicles. These upgrades will enable us to continue supplying top-of-the-line fire service to the community.
"We would also like to thank Congressman Chris Collins for supporting these programs."
"Clarence Fire District No. 1 is one of only two hazard materials teams in Northern Erie County," said Doug Garlapo, chairman of the board of fire commissioners for Clarence Fire District No. 1. "With the NYS tax cap and an approved building expansion project, our financial resources to purchase new hazmat equipment was severely limited. The FEMA grant of $63,456 will enable the fire district to purchase those much-needed supplies and equipment, and keep the team fully functional.
"The board of fire commissioners extends a sincere 'Thank you' to Congressman Chris Collins for his help and support in securing this grant."
"This important funding will allow our department to purchase new auto extraction tools and improve safety in the local community," said Andrew Benz, chief of the Shelby Fire Co. "The tools that we are currently using are over 20 years old. We are appreciative of Congressman Collin's efforts on behalf of our department."