SCHENECTADY COUNTY — Schenectady County this week awarded $50,000 in grants to 11 volunteer fire companies in the county.
Of the money coming from the county budget, the Plotterkill Fire Department received the largest share: $8,200. The Pattersonville department received $8,163, and the Beukendaal department received $8,085.
Other volunteer departments receiving grants were Alplaus and Scotia, $5,000 each; Glenville Hills, $4,300; Thomas Corners, $3,500; East Glenville, $3,300; South Schenectady, $1,552; West Glenville, $1,500; and Mariaville, $1,400.
The county initiated the grant program this year to provide financial assistance to fire departments outside the city of Schenectady. Companies that applied for the money had to identify special needs that weren't being met or identify new areas of need that weren't being addressed.
The money could be used for improving fire safety, covering training costs, equipment purchases, facilities improvements or fire prevention strategies. The money was awarded through the county's Office of Emergency Management.
"Schenectady County is proud to award these fire safety grants that will help the departments in our towns enhance their fire protection abilities," said County Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam.
The county made the awards in October because it is Fire Prevention Month.
County spokesman Joe McQueen said there was a similar grant program in 2014, which was considered successful. While no grant program is planned for next year, the county could do it again in the future, he noted.
While only 11 of the 22 volunteer companies in the county applied, McQueen said all of those that applied received some funding.
He said one of the requirements was that any new equipment or training be available to other departments, so they are sharing services and there's a benefit to the county at large.