U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $536,324 in federal funding for the Lackawanna Fire Department in Erie County. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The federal funding will allow the Lackawanna Fire Department to hire four new, full-time firefighters, increasing the Department’s full-time staff substantially, by nearly ten percent.
“These much-needed federal funds will provide the assistance the Lackawanna Fire Department needs to maintain and expand its fire department. Our first responders are our primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. That’s why it is crucial we provide them the support they need to hire an adequate number of staff so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability and keep the community safe,” said Senator Schumer.
“This federal funding will enable the Lackawanna Fire Department’s to hire more firefighters,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When we’re able to maintain and create positions for first responders, we can respond to more emergencies and help save more lives. I will continue working to ensure our first responders have the tools and resources they need to keep our communities safe.”
“This grant is going to help us increase our manpower by one firefighter per platoon, and we have four platoons. This gets us closer to where we need to be in terms of NFPA regulations, but it also decreases the amount of overtime that we have to pay, which is good for the Lackawanna taxpayers,” said Ralph Galanti, Fire Chief of the Lackawanna Fire Department. “We also see a decrease in injuries when we add more manpower, which allows us to focus on the public and not have to worry about each other. This grant is a lifesaver. Four new full-time firefighters at no cost for two years will help our department out immensely.”
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 National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.