YOUNGSVILLE, NY — The big news at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department these days is two-fold: $160,412.38 in grant funding from the federal government to purchase new Self-Contained …
YOUNGSVILLE, NY — The big news at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department these days is two-fold: $160,412.38 in grant funding from the federal government to purchase new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), and the local fire commissioners giving the department the green light to upgrade an aging pumper that dates back to 1995 with a 2014 Pierce engine.
On August 14, the department received an email from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that its application for a grant to acquire new SCBA’s, commonly known as Scott Air-Paks, had been approved as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters (ATF) Grant Program for the current fiscal year.
According to the DHS and FEMA, since 2001, the ATF program has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed “resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.”
As a condition of the grant, the local fire department kicked in $8,020.62, bringing the total award to $168,433. This provided the volunteers with 23 3M Scott Air-Paks, carbon fiber cylinders rated at 4,500 pounds per square inch, individually-fitted facepieces (masks) and other related systems.
According to Jonathan McGibbon, chief of the Youngsville Fire Department, the grant award would not have been possible without the assistance of Joe Kavleski, chairman of the local fire district’s board of commissioners; Carl Houman of the Monticello Joint Fire District; the Sullivan County Bureau of Fire; John Hauschild, Sullivan County Fire Commissioner; Randy King, a grant consultant from Grantgenies; Youngsville VFD Deputy Chief Rick Graham; and several area politicians including U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand, along with Congressman Antonio Delgado.
McGibbon also said receiving the grant would never have happened without the help of deputy chief Rick Graham. “Without him, we wouldn’t have gotten it,” said McGibbon of his deputy, a position of rank appointed by the department’s chief. Graham devoted countless hours to negotiating the seemingly endless details of applying for federal grant funds, making sure all the boxes were checked.
Graham, now in his 39th year with the local department that was founded in 1930, recalled that, as an eighth-grader, to this day he still vividly remembers a tragic fire on Terrace Avenue, a deadly blaze in the late 1970s that claimed the lives of one of his classmates and her third-grade brother.
Graham said this event spearheaded efforts among area fire districts to “come together and form an official fire prevention committee.”
McGibbon, now is his fourth year as chief, follows in the well-worn firefighting boot prints of his father Sherwood “Woody” McGibbon, who has served with the local department going on 58 years.
“As of now, before we got the grant, we had Scott Paks that were over 20 to 30 years old, that we bought used, so it was definitely time for new [ones],” he said.
Graham added that the 2014 Pierce PUC rescue pumper will cost local taxpayers approximately $330,000, a substantial savings over the $850,000 cost of a new one. It was formerly used by the Cahaba Valley Fire Department and purchased by the fire district from Command Fire Apparatus of Landisville, PA.
“It’s all a step in the right direction,” he said of the acquisition of the new Personal Protective Equipment SCBA’s, and the impending purchase of the new apparatus, adding, “The guys have to look out for one another, and this new equipment helps keep them safe.”
For information about the DHS/FEMA ATG program, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.