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Tonko Honors 9/11 Anniversary, Announces $109K Award to Amsterdam Fire Department

Federal grant will update lifesaving gear to meet national standards for department firefighters

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Albany, September 11, 2019 | comments

ALBANYCongressman Paul D. Tonko marked the 18th anniversary since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and called for full and continuous support for first responders, announcing today that the City of Amsterdam Fire Department has been awarded $109,904.76 through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program. The department will use the grant funding for new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the department’s firefighters.

“The funding from this grant will allow us to update our equipment to meet the new National Fire Protection Association standards,” Amsterdam Fire Chief Michael Whitty said. “The gear our firefighters are wearing is approaching 10 years old. Now, we will be able to provide all new Personal Protective Equipment in the form of jackets, helmets, boots and gloves that are the first line of defense for firefighters. I appreciate the Congressman’s efforts as a big proponent of public safety and we are thankful for the work that he does for Amsterdam.”

In addition, Tonko has also been a longtime cosponsor of legislation in Congress to extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and cheered the bill being signed into law earlier this year.  The legislation, H.R. 1327, also reverses all cuts in compensation for both current and future claims, taking long-overdue action to provide financial security and support for 9/11 first responders, survivors and families.

“On this painful anniversary, we stand with those who mourn their lost loved ones,” Tonko said. “I have long cosponsored legislation to restore the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. For the first time in nearly two decades, we can look squarely into the eyes of our first responders that have been injured and are suffering and tell them that we truly have their backs. Included among that list are hundreds of first responders in the Capital Region, to whom we say thank you.”

“Amsterdam is my home and my hometown, and the fight to protect our firefights is a deeply personal issue for me,” Tonko added. “I believe all first responders must be provided with the best equipment possible in order to do their jobs safely. We cannot allow the dangers and burdens of this work to be exacerbated because the lifesaving equipment that protects them is not up to date. I am pleased to fight for and secure funding to protect firefighters in Amsterdam.” 

The AFG Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created to award grants to fire departments, EMS organizations and state fire training academies in order to strengthen the preparedness and ability to protect public health and safety throughout the country. Since FY2001, the AFG Program provided grants to first-responder organizations totaling $8.325 billion.

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