U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $42,066 in federal funding for the Lancaster 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. This funding will allow the Lancaster Fire Department to bolster firefighter recruitment, retention and training initiatives.
“Whether it’s a fire, flood, car accident, or when disaster strikes, we depend on these local heroes to keep us safe, and they depend on us to give them the resources they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding will allow the Lancaster Fire Department to grow its ranks and will help ensure that they can respond to any situation quickly and efficiently. I’m proud to announce this grant and will continue working to make sure New York’s first responders have what they need.”
“These federal funds will allow the Lancaster Fire Department to maintain the staffing level necessary to respond safely and effectively to emergencies in their community,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Every day our first responders risk their lives to protect us, and I will always fight in the Senate to make sure our local fire departments have the support they need to do their jobs.”
“There’s a definite need for new recruits. Back when I joined the fire department we used to cap our membership at 65 per company across four different companies. There used to be a waiting list. Now we only have approximately 25 in each company. This grant is going to help us recruit and retrain new firefighters to better protect the community and make sure all of our citizens are safe,” said Lancaster Mayor Bill Schroeder.
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.