Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $543,880 in federal funding for the Elmira Fire Department to hire four additional firefighters to a currently understaffed department. The funding was allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program.
“This is an important investment for the Elmira Fire Department,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we keep more firefighters on the job, we can respond to more emergencies, keep our community safe and save more lives, and help strengthen our economy in the process.”
“We are extremely pleased with the 2012 SAFER Grant Awarded to the Elmira Fire Department,” Elmira Fire Chief Patrick P. Bermingham said. “Operationally, we will be able to add a firefighter to each of our four shifts; allowing for adequate staffing to be attained leading to safer fire ground operations and a better level of fire protection for the community.”
The Elmira Fire Department provides fire and emergency response services to nearly 30,000 Elmira residents. The fire department is supported by a staff of 60 trained firefighters and four civilian personnel. The Elmira Fire Department will use this federal funding to add one firefighter to each of their four shifts for the next two years to help address their currently understaffed firefighting corps.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security, was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the NFPA and OSHA.