State Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville) this morning announced that he has secured half a million dollars in state funding for the Mastic Fire Department.
Joined by New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue), Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, deputy supervisor Dan Panico and Mastic Fire Department Chief Rudy Sunderman, Croci explained the $500K grant is funded by the State and Municipal Facilities Program, also known as “SAM” Grant.
According to department commissioner Patrick C. Greene, the department outlined several needed equipment upgrades in a letter sent to Sen. Croci. The upgrades include a Class A Pumper Truck, foam distribution system, hurst battery operated extrication tools such as a cutter, spreader and ram, self contained breathing apparatus, and three self protection proximity fire fighting suits. “Our goal is safety,” he said. “Having these capabilities will make it safer for our firefighters and all people who live and play in the Mastic area.”
The grant, managed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), will cover the majority of the upgrades sought by the department, which totaled nearly $600,000.
Every dollar of grant money, Croci said, is a dollar the fire district doesn’t have to raise in taxes. “We have the ability in the state government to bring grant money back to our hometowns,” Sen. Croci said at the fire department this morning. “The gentlemen behind me in uniform, they get the call at all hours of the night, during the day and they are all volunteers who are doing what they’re doing because they care about their community and fellow man,” he added.
Chief Rudy Sunderman noted that already by 10 a.m., the department had responded to four calls already. Sunderman added that the department, founded in 1925, responds to about 1,000 calls per year with 106 members. “[The grant] will be a great asset to our department,” Sunderman said. “It’s going to bring versatility to our fleet which allows us to bring continued service to our community.”
One of the department’s four fire engines will be phased out to purchase the new truck, he said. “It’s a 1994, so it’s time,” Sunderman explained, noting that they will meet with vendors to start looking for a new truck.
Assemblyman Murray, Supervisor Romaine and Councilman Panico each thanked the department for their service to the tri-hamlet community. “For the last 92 years, they have lived up to the slogan of this department that they wear on their patch: Ready to serve,” Supervisor Romaine said.
Offering some final thoughts, Sen. Croci added that the equipment will be able to save lives and prevent tragedy. “Sometimes in government, it’s easy to forget—whether you’re in Washington D.C., Albany or Town Hall, why you’re there. Ultimately, this grant is for the residents of the tri-hamlet area. Our first responders must have the equipment and resources to protect our residents’ lives and property,” he said.