U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1,991,532 in federal funding for the Syracuse Fire Department in Onondaga County. The money was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. This funding will allow the Syracuse Fire Department to expand its emergency services capabilities by hiring 12 new firefighters.
“The men and women of the Syracuse Fire Department are our first line of defense,” said Senator Schumer. “It is crucial that we ensure that these local heroes have the staff and material resources they need to do their jobs. Bringing on a dozen new firefighters will allow them to answer residents’ calls for help as quickly and effectively as possible. Nothing is more important than the safety of our families. That’s why I’m keeping up the fight to secure the resources our local fire departments need to continue serving their communities.”
“These federal funds will help protect our firefighters in Central New York when they risk their lives, go into harm’s way, and rescue people from deadly fires,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am very pleased that this funding was awarded to the Syracuse Fire Department, and I will continue to fight in the Senate to make sure more of our local fire departments have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.”
“We see every day the heroic work done quietly by our firefighters in the City of Syracuse. Keeping a strong force is an integral part of our public safety,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner.
According to the Syracuse Fire Department, they are in critical need of recruits and could have 20 firefighters retiring in the next two years. The Department planned to hire new firefighters whether or not they received the grant, which would have taken money away from upgrading fire and rescue trucks. Understanding the critical importance of this grant to the city, Schumer wrote DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in April advocating for the award.
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.