Valuable Backup

Those in the business of helping others are about to receive some much-needed help for themselves.

On Thursday, Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $364,320 in federal funding for nine fire departments in Chautauqua County, including the Jamestown Fire Department.

The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and will be used to purchase mobile radio units for fire trucks to allow better communication between law enforcement and other fire departments during multiple-alarm fires.

The funding will also aid Chautauqua County in putting its new $6 million radio system into practice and allow fire departments across the county to better communicate during emergency situations.

“This really enhances our ability to communicate between departments and with law enforcement,” said Daniel Imfeld, firefighter, EMT and deputy HAZMAT coordinator for Chautauqua County.

“Being able to communicate between the different departments really enhances the safety of our firefighters.”

Chet Harvey, deputy fire chief for the Jamestown Fire Department, echoed Imfeld’s comments, describing the grant as a “really big deal” that will improve radio communication by getting more use out of fewer frequencies.

The Lakewood Fire Department applied for the funding in September 2013 on behalf of the Ashville, Busti, Celoron, Clymer, Frewsburg, Jamestown, Kiantone, Panama and Lakewood fire departments.

Additional funding for five new self-contained breathing apparatuses and 10 new sets of turnout gear was also approved for the Allegany Fire Department.

“Our first responders are our local heroes and primary line of defense,” Schumer said.

“They safeguard our residents and protect our property. It’s crucial that we provide them with the cutting-edge equipment they need to do their jobs and save lives.”