SARATOGA COUNTY — Congressman Paul Tonko, who represents Saratoga County in the 20th Congressional District, this week announced the awarding of more than $156,000 in federal funding to two local fire departments.
In this round of funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, the Burnt Hills Fire Department will receive $121,308.57, and the South Glens Falls Fire Company will receive $34,746.66, all going toward the purchase of radios, equipment maintenance, and other critical safety and operational needs to protect their members.
Greg Bradtke, Chief of the Burnt Hills Fire Department, said the award will allow the department to purchase 26 new P25 compliant radios with ancillary equipment and place one at every seat on apparatus and also in the hands of command personnel.
Arthur L. Porlier Jr., Firefighter and Grant Committee Chair at South Glens Falls Fire Company, said the new equipment, along with policies and procedures for on-scene decontamination of firefighters, will help to reduce the exposure to carcinogens our firefighters face, decreasing the likelihood of obtaining occupational cancer. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters are currently being diagnosed with cancer at a nearly 10 percent higher rate than the general public and experiencing cancer-related deaths at a nearly 15 percent higher rate.
Tonko’s announcement marks the 19th round of the competitive FY 2021 AFG announcements, with previous rounds delivering a total of more than $1.56 million for fire departments in Albany, Glenville, North Greenbush, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, and Troy.
The FY 2021 AFG Program will award an unprecedented $414 million in competitive grants to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies. This includes an additional $100 million for the AFG Program provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).