MASSENA - Congressman Bill Owens announced Wednesday the Massena Volunteer Rescue Squad has been awarded $45,600 in grant funding.
Mr. Owens said the grants were awarded through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FY 2013 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
“These grants give local emergency and rescue service providers the resources they need to ensure the safety of their responders and their communities,” Mr. Owens said. “Emergencies are an unfortunate reality and local rescue services are often the first and best protection we have when they happen. This funding begins to address the critical needs of these local emergency agencies to ensure the safety of our first responders and the communities they protect.”
AFG grants are competitive and awarded directly to fire departments to protect public and first-responder health and safety. This round of AFG grants included $45,600 for the Massena Volunteer Emergency Unit and $23,560 for the Dickinson Fire District.
First Assistant Chief Brenton LaGrow said the money for the Massena facility will go toward an exhaust system to remove harmful exhausts from the headquarters on East Orvis Street when vehicles are pulling out or returning.
“The safety benefits are immense for this kind of thing,” Mr. LaGrow said. “Instead of having our members breathing in these fumes, the dangerous toxins are trapped and removed. This is important for us to meet our goal of a safe workplace for the volunteers and paid staff that work here. We appreciate the help we got from everyone involved.”
He added that this upgrade will also make the building safer for members of the community who participate in instructional classes at the facility.
Ricky Provost, chairman of the Dickinson Fire District and director of emergency services/fire coordinator for Franklin County, cheered the funding announcement. “This grant funding will have a positive impact on the safety of our firefighters and our community, helping us to provide a higher quality of service to the residents in this region. Working as a firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs you can get so having quality equipment makes a real difference for our ability to serve this and nearby districts. Some of our safety equipment is at the end of its life so this funding will provide us with tools that we need.”
Mr. Provost noted the AFG grant program has had a significant impact on Franklin County.
“Our county is safer because of these grants,” he said.
Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.