“With the relationships we’re building with local emergency and first responders, we have a better understanding of what they are looking toward Congress to help them with,” Reed said. “Fire departments, EMS organizations, police departments – they all have specific equipment and personnel needs and the better we understand those needs, the better equipped Washington will be to address them and address them fairly.”
“As the Chief of Police at a large Ivy League University that works closely with other first responders in our community, this type of forum is essential to communicating what our needs are to do the best job in responding to and preventing emergencies,” said Chief Kathy Zoner of the Cornell University Police. “It’s rare that we have an opportunity to draw together a large group from such a large area of our state. It is clear that we are all faced with the same challenges despite the differences in our locations and jurisdictions. It was reassuring to hear from Congressman Reed that several issues that members of our group wished to bring forward were issues that he was already aware of and is seeking to take steps to address.”
COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services), SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) and AFG (Assistance to Firefighters) grants were all discussed. Reed recently hosted a workshop for local fire departments and EMS organizations to help these groups better care for and meet their emergency response needs. The workshop was held in conjunction with the AFG program to help these groups understand what resources are available.
Rep. Reed also gave an overview of legislation passed thus far in the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress and upcoming bills relating to emergency responders. Reed and the House of Representatives recently completed the appropriations process for Homeland Security (which includes FEMA and firefighter grants). Reed went through that process with attendees.
“Whether we actively think about it or not, we rely on first responders every day to be there for us should we need them,” Reed continued. “Now it is our turn to care for them and listen to ways we can help them do their jobs a little bit easier.”
Representatives from the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, Geneva Fire Department, Hornell Fire Department, Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, Elmira Fire Department, Cattaraugus County Department of Emergency Services, Schuyler County Fire and Emergency Services Department, Steuben County Department of Emergency Services, Ithaca Police Department, Jamestown Fire Department, Tioga County Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Tompkins County Department of Emergency Services, New York State Police, and Cornell University were in attendance.