Julianne Hynes, TSM Correspondent)--- U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York says he is fighting to maintain federal funding for local fire departments.

The Democrat stopped by the Johnson City Fire Department February 19 to voice his support for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response or “SAFER” grant. This grant is designed to pay for the salary and training of local firefighters at career departments, as it is with the J-C Fire Department. As of right now, the Village has a total of five firefighters on staff who are funded by the SAFER grant, of whom Schumer wants to ensure they stay on when the grant runs out.

Schumer said, “We know how important it is. This is a department that works very well together. The men and women here are a team… They look out for each other, and they don’t want to lose five of their brothers.”

Senator Schumer says he also wants to increase the amount of money allocated for the program and is in full support of the Village’s application for another round of funding. Johnson City Firefighters Association Union’s President Matthew Lee agrees that the grant is beneficial.