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$25 million in capital funding available to support volunteer fire departments


Tue, Dec 19th 2023 03:05 pm

Grants available to volunteer fire departments for construction, renovation or purchase of facilities and equipment service projects

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $25 million in capital grants is available to help volunteer fire departments across the state upgrade their facilities and equipment. In total, $25 million was secured in the fiscal year 2023-24 state budget for this initiative, along with $10 million to offset the costs of training courses volunteer firefighters are required to complete.

The program’s request for applications is available here.

“The volunteer firefighters of New York are selfless public servants who put their lives on the line to keep their communities safe," Hochul said. "This funding will go a long way in reminding those who continue to serve that we will always support them in any and every way we can."

Administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the program supports volunteer fire departments by upgrading and improving facilities and response capabilities through the following objectives:

√ Ensure fire stations and training facilities are safe, structurally sound, meet current building codes and regulations, and support or promote effective and safe firefighting practices;

√ Support volunteer firefighter safety and health and wellness by providing equipment including personal protective equipment (PPE), decontamination equipment and supplies, and effective exhaust removal systems; and

√ Support consolidation of fire service resources through regionalization efforts to expand above and beyond jurisdictional boundaries to enhance local, county and statewide response efforts.

Two funding options are available through the grant program:

√ $20 million for construction, renovation, and/or facility purchase projects including fire stations, substations and joint/shared stations, fire training towers, instructional classrooms and meeting spaces, exhaust systems, and shower facilities for decontamination.

√ $5 million for allowable fire service equipment projects including personal protective equipment (PPE), PPE washer/extractor, PPE dryers, radios/communications equipment, rehab equipment, and mask service unit/air compressor.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Volunteer fire departments are the backbone of emergency response in communities statewide, and in recent years, they have been called upon to do more in the face of new threats and the growing impacts of climate change. Unfortunately, however, many departments struggle to make the facility upgrades and equipment purchases needed to fulfill these expanded missions. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Hochul, this $25 million will help ensure these brave public servants have the facilities and equipment necessary to keep their communities safe in times of emergency.”

New York State Fire Administrator Jim Cable said, “Volunteer fire departments are a critical component of the state’s overall ability to respond to emergencies at any given time, and it is important to provide as much funding as we can to improve their capabilities and increase their overall health and safety. I applaud Gov. Hochul for securing this grant funding and will ensure that our state fire staff will work with communities to implement this funding in ways that will help keep New Yorkers and the responders who serve them safe.”

State Sen. Michelle Hinchey said, “New York’s first-ever Volunteer Fire Services Capital Fund is finally open – a huge win for our first responders and local taxpayers that I’m proud to have led the charge in creating. This new capital fund is not only an investment in the safety of our communities but also in the first responders who are always there to answer the call. It’s a privilege to champion support for New York’s volunteer firehouses, and I encourage all to take advantage of the funds available."

Only eligible entities located within the state of New York that serve one or more local governments may apply. All applicants must articulate how they meet the eligibility requirements. Eligible organizations include volunteer fire companies that are comprised of 100% volunteer firefighters that are responsible for providing fire protection services to one or more jurisdiction(s); nonprofit fire companies are eligible to apply and are subject to prequalification or prequalification exempt status; municipalities including villages, towns, cities and fire districts responsible for providing fire protection through a fire department comprised of 100% volunteer firefighter membership; and counties and municipal shared services applications.

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