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$128K grant helps N.Y. FD reduce the risk of cancer

An AFG grant will help Troy firefighters keep their PPE clean and reduce their exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens


By Michael Gwizdala
The Record

TROY, N.Y. — On Friday, the City of Troy learned it will receive $128,590 in federal funding for firefighting equipment. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced the funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

The funds will be utilized to buy new heavy-duty firefighting gear washers, dryers, and other firefighting equipment to aid in eliminating carcinogens from firefighting gear and keep Troy’s firefighters safe while working to protect the community.

Studies show carcinogens from soot and smoke accumulate on firefighters’ protective gear, posing a serious health risk. Plus, cancer diagnoses among firefighters have risen at an alarming rate. The purchase of these heavy-duty washers and dryers will enable the Troy Fire Department to regularly wash their protective gear and help keep firefighters safe from the environmental risks of their job.

[On-demand webinar: A comprehensive guide to the grants process]

“From being on the frontline during COVID to fighting fires, our Troy firefighters work non-stop keeping our communities safe. That is why when I heard our fire departments were struggling to secure enough equipment to keep their hardworking firefighters safe from harmful carcinogens, I promised to deliver the federal dollars to give our heroes the support they need. So I am proud to deliver this major over $128,000 federal boost so firefighters in the Troy Fire Department can stay safe while providing aid to the surrounding community and protecting critical infrastructure in the area,” Schumer said in a news release from his office.

“I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters and today’s funding will keep the City of Troy prepared to take on any emergency,” Schumer explained.

“Our firefighters work tirelessly to keep New York communities safe,” Gillibrand remarked.

“This funding will help ensure that Troy firefighters are equipped with the resources they need to effectively respond to any emergency situation. I will continue to fight to ensure that federal resources are available to support our firefighters so they can continue to keep New Yorkers safe,” Gillibrand noted.

Troy Fire Chief Eric McMahon expressed his gratitude for the funding that will help protect members of his department.

“We would like to thank Senator Schumer for his continued support of firefighters at the federal level. This grant will fund the purchase of three new heavy-duty firefighting gear washers and dryers, and other firefighting equipment,” McMahon commented.

“As has been reported, cancer diagnoses among firefighters have risen to an alarming rate. These gear washers will be used following each structure fire to remove known carcinogens from our firefighting gear, making for a healthier and safer firefighting environment,” McMahon added.

Mayor Patrick Madden also issued a statement Friday afternoon on the funding and said he was thankful for the grant.

“The safety of neighborhoods relies on the steadfast maintenance of a fast-acting, well-equipped and well-trained fire department, which is why I’m thankful for the support of our federal partners in providing this needed grant funding. We are continuing efforts to grow our fire department and encourage anyone interested in joining the department to learn more at,” Madden said.

Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello was also appreciative of the funds and noted some of the funds already appropriated by the council toward keeping firefighters up to date with modern equipment.

“The City Council pushed and appropriated funding for a second set of turnout gear for our firefighters which was critical. Presently, the fire department only has three washers and dryers citywide and this recently announced federal grant will fund additional washers, dryers and life-saving gear to fight carcinogens and protect our firefighters. I want to thank our United States Senate Representatives for their support and partnership,” Mantello said when asked about it on Friday.

Council member Sue Steele also remarked on the importance of having a fully equipped and staffed fire department.

“Rebuilding Troy’s firefighting workforce is a crucial component to ensuring public safety and disaster preparedness across our neighborhoods,” Steele stated.

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