Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) will receive a grant totaling $4,270,570 in Round 20 of the FY10 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER). SAFER awards are administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and are designed to strengthen the response programs of fire departments throughout the country by promoting and maintaining 24-hour staffing, particularly in volunteer fire departments. FASNY will use these funds for a statewide recruitment campaign over the next four years, that aims to address New York’s growing recruitment and retention challenges. FASNY plans to recruit thousands of new firefighters with this campaign, as well as provide education benefits to student volunteers, including tuition reimbursements.
“This federal money will help FASNY launch a critical campaign to recruit and train thousands of new firefighters over the next four years,” said Schumer. “These funds will guarantee that fire departments throughout New York are well-staffed, and capable of quickly and safely responding to emergencies. The people of New York can sleep easier tonight knowing that their volunteer fire departments have additional resources to continue their life-saving work.”
“This is a great investment for New York,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This federal investment will help improve the ability of New York’s fire departments to respond and keep our families safe. I will continue working to ensure our first responders have the tools and resources they need to keep our communities safe.”
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP) provides funding to local fire departments to help them improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks; enhancement of emergency medical services programs; development of health and safety initiatives; establishment of fire education and prevention programs; creation of wellness and fitness programs; and equipment and facility upgrades.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program is part of Round 20 of the AFG Program and are intended to support the hiring of firefighters and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. SAFER grants are administered to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. The objective of the Hiring of Firefighters activity is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters. The objective of the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters activity is to create a more favorable working environment for volunteer firefighters. The primary focus of this activity is to enlist and/or retain volunteer firefighters who are trained in the operations of firefighting and emergency response.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the Department’s United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.firegrantsupport.com/ .