BROADALBIN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Recently FEMA awarded assistance to firefighters grants and five departments in the Capital Region were given hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Volunteer fire departments rely heavily on grants to buy new equipment and now a local company will be able to do just that.
The Broadalbin Kennyetto Fire Company has been awarded more than $150,000 in a recent round of federal grants.
“This is the biggest grant we’ve received.”
Robert Zurlo is the treasurer for the company and says this money will go towards 26 new air packs.
“It’s gonna help us immensely. It’s going to pretty much pay for most of it.”
Currently, the department has 16 air packs but they expire next year and don’t have the most up-to-date technology.
“With the new ones they have a speaker on them so when you talk in your mask it comes out the speaker and you can hear it.”
Communication is key when fighting fires.
“You can’t normally see hand communication or what someone else is doing so you have to be able to talk.”
The new packs will last 20 years and Zurlo says they need to have them.
“We have to get the equipment. We don’t have a choice. The equipment is mandated.”
Without the grant, the fire company would be forced to take out a loan. It’s a burden that would be difficult to take on after the recent purchase of a new truck.
“For volunteer fire departments any tuck purchase is really getting harder and harder.”
On top of monetary struggles, the department is also low on volunteers.
“Most of the county is depending on volunteer fire departments and they’re not getting the membership and we really do need the help.”
Zurlo has been at this job for nearly 40 years and says he’s passionate about protecting the community.
“I do love what I do. And most of the guys, you don’t volunteer to be a fireman unless you love what you do.”
He hopes others will see the good the department is doing and step up too.
The fire company is expecting to receive their brand new masks sometime around Christmas.