WASHINGTON, D.C. - New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) is calling on congress to increase funding for firefighter grant programs. 

The programs are run through FEMA. They provide funding for departments to buy equipment like protective gear, hazmat detection devices and other lifesaving equipment. The grant programs also help with staffing fire departments. Gillibrand said many local and volunteer fire departments use these grants.  

The Senator adds even though congress approved the reauthorization of these grant programs, she said they cut back funding by about 72-million dollars. She wants congress to restore the grant programs’ funding.   

“We can’t keep expecting our firefighters, most of whom are volunteers, put their lives on the line without support,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to increase federal funding for these essential programs so that our firefighters have what they need to keep others and our communities safe.” 

Gillibrand said last year alone, New York fire departments secured more than 200 grants, totaling nearly 50-million for fire departments.