At a visit Friday in Cherry Valley Senator James L. Seward announced a $10,000 state grant for the Cherry Valley Fire Department. The funds will be used to purchase a thermal imaging camera for the department, which senses body heat to detect people trapped inside burning buildings.
"I am proud to be here to help support an important part of rural New York -- our fire departments and the selfless volunteers who give of their time day in, day out," Sen. Seward said. "The thermal imaging camera is a vital tool in helping save lives, and I commend the department for moving forward in its desire to have updated, modern lifesaving equipment."
Seward handed department officials an oversized presentation check at the ceremony, which was attended by department members and officers.
"Thank you, Senator Seward, for helping the Cherry Valley Fire Department with funding to allow us to buy this very expensive piece of equipment. We are a small fire department with limited funds," said Fire Chief Russell Flint.
"This equipment is important to use at a fire. It is used to check building walls for hot spots that you may not be able to see otherwise it detects body heath and issued for search and rescue of bodies, and in smoky conditions, it can also find the source of fire so the firefighter can directly to the source and put the fire out," Flint added.
"Our rural fire departments and emergency squads do a tremendous job of preserving lives and property," Seward, chairman of the Senate Task Force on Voluntary Emergency Services, added. "They do so on shoestring budgets that consist of bake sales, barbecues, donations and auctions, and the labor of local volunteers. This is a key area where the state can help a local rural community in a specific and critical way that will save money and improve fire services to area citizens."
Seward is the author of legislation that created and increased the size of the state Emergency Services Revolving Loan Fund. The fund has provided nearly a half million in awards to Otsego County fire departments since 1995. He has been active in issues pertaining to the voluntary fire service, securing additional state funding for the state fire academy and winning a new scholarship incentive program for young volunteers who serve their departments while they attend college.
The grant for the department announced today comes from the 2004-2005 state budget, and is administered by the Department of State.