Two fire departments in Nassau County are receiving more than $268,000 in federal grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grants program.
The Bethpage Fire Department will receive $71,501 to purchase the Ward No Smoke diesel filtering system to reduce carbon emissions in the department's facilities and reduce the health effects of vehicle exhaust. The Sea Cliff Fire Department will receive $196,667 for breathing apparatuses.
The grants were announced Thursday by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington). "Firefighters and first responders in Nassau County put their lives on the line every day to save lives," Israel said in a news release. "This federal funding is crucial to ensure we provide our local heroes with the equipment they need to stay safe and breathe clean air whether they are in the firehouse, or while responding to dangerous situations on Long Island."
Glenn Neuman, the commissioner of the Bethpage Fire Department, said in a release: "On behalf of the Board and myself we are both pleased and grateful to receive this critical federal funding."
In an interview Thursday, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy said the grant will allow the department to buy 25 full sets of the breathing apparatuses and 50 spare tanks.
"We can't fight fires unless we can safely send the firefighters into burning structures," he said, noting that buying the equipment would have cost more than 4 percent of the annual village budget. "We could not maintain a fire department without this vital equipment. It is not discretionary."