U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles "Chuck" Schumer said he told Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long to keep funding the Newburgh Fire Department and avoid life-threatening layoffs.
Newburgh has once again applied for annual federal aid through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Program.
Schumer said SAFER Grants have helped low-income municipalities like Newburgh maintain the number of trained firefighters available in their communities.
New York's U.S. senator said that the last two rounds of SAFER funding have been a vital lifeline for Newburgh FD, allowing the department to keep firefighters, sustain and enhance their equipment and better serve the Hudson Valley community.
Schumer called it vital for FEMA to approve the forthcoming application so that NFD can retain nine essential full-time firefighters and continue to serve their severely financially-challenged city.
The city’s SAFER application for this cycle only requested funding to pay for nine firefighter salaries, after the Newburgh City Council voted to keep three firefighters on the city's payroll. Newburgh Fire Department also provides mutual aid throughout Orange County.
“During my call with Administrator Long, I made it clear that Newburgh’s firefighters are local heroes – who risk their lives every day to protect their community, Newburgh’s residents and its property,” Schumer said in a news release. "Back in 2013 and 2015, I was proud of the role I played to secure the funding needed to hire these 12 desperately needed firefighters for the City of Newburgh and last week, I doubled down on my support for the Newburgh Fire Department by advocating directly to Administrator Long."
Newburgh Fire Chief said, "It's no secret that Senator Schumer has been a long time and relentless supporter, advocate, and friend of the City of Newburgh Fire Department. . . . We are very lucky to always have him on our side and we are always immensely grateful for the Senator's unwavering support and advocacy, but even more so now, as we join together to do everything in our power to secure this vital lifeline for our department."
Schumer said that Newburgh’s most recent SAFER grant is set to expire on July 31.
Its firefighters respond to emergencies at critical infrastructure in the region, including the CSX railroad, Newburgh Beacon Ferry and Bridge, Stewart International Airport, the Hudson River, and the Petroleum Port of Newburgh.
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