Schenectady

Schenectady, Troy fire departments receive federal grant

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SCHENECTADY — A pair of Capital Region fire departments have received more than $1 million in federal funding to address staffing shortages and purchase new equipment. 

Schenectady and Troy fire departments last week were awarded a combined $1.19 million in funding as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

New York’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, announced the funding in a joint news release Friday.

“From the peak of the pandemic to battling a blaze, our brave Capital Region firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their communities,” Schumer said in a statement. “It is essential that we provide our firefighters with the training and equipment they need to keep our communities safe.”

The Schenectady Fire Department will use $417,032 of the funding to purchase portable radios in order to ensure all 112 firefighters have their own personal radios, which are key to ensuring communication during emergencies.

In Troy, the department will use the remaining $702,545 to train firefighters to become certified medical technicians as a way of bolstering response times as the department faces staffing shortages.

The Troy Fire Department currently has 12 vacancies, a problem fueled by a lack of qualified candidates, according to a recent CBS6 News report.

Eric McMahon, chief of the Troy Fire Department, said the funding “could not have come at a better time.”

The struggle to find qualified candidates is an issue facing fire departments across the state, including Schenectady, which also has a number of openings at this time.

The number of individuals taking the required civil service exam has fallen off in recent years.

In Schenectady, which requires all applicants to be a certified paramedic, the department has bolstered its recruitment efforts locally by visiting area schools and colleges, and hosting open houses to provide those interested in the position with information on the job.

New York firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe,” Gillibrand said. “We owe it to them to make sure they have the resources and equipment they need to do their jobs.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

Categories: News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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