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More Firefighters Back to Work
Posted On: Jun 05, 2010

Latest Round of SAFER Grants Puts More Fire Fighters Back to Work

June 4, 2010 -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to IAFF affiliates through the Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) program for Fiscal Year 2009. The grant awards announced today will help some fire departments bring back fire fighters lost to layoffs or attrition.

“It is great news that more of our local affiliates have received a grant to help bring fire fighters back on the job. It is essential that local officials quickly approve these grants so that these fire houses can begin to get back to more safe staffing levels,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.

“I also want to assure those affiliates that are waiting on awards that fire departments that have had layoffs are getting the highest priority and receiving their funding first,” President Schaitberger said.

IAFF departments have received $109 million in SAFER grants since March 31, restoring an estimated 1,000 jobs. The grants that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is distributing now are fulfilling $210 million available in Fiscal Year 2009. Another $420 million has been appropriated for Fiscal Year 2010 and will be available under the new guidelines negotiated by the IAFF. The grants available in Fiscal Year 2010 will restore another 3,400 jobs.

Kingston, NY Local 461 received $446,114 in the seventh round of funding announced by FEMA. Kingston has lost 12 fire fighters to attrition in the past year as the city froze fire fighter hiring to offset a budget deficit.

“Being down a dozen fire fighters has been a huge burden for the guys still on the job. This award, pending the city’s approval, will mean that we can bring four fire fighters back on the job,” said Kingston Local 461 President Tom Tiano.

Other IAFF affiliates receiving awards in the seventh round of grants for FY 2009 were: Healdsburg, CA Local 2604 with $293,990 and Jackson, MI Local 1306 with $548,839.

Just as in Kingston, Healdsburg and Jackson fire fighters have been struggling to fully serve the community with dwindling resources.

A complete list of departments that have received a SAFER grant in Fiscal Year 2009 is here.

Once a round of awards is determined, city officials must tell FEMA that it has accepted the grant. FEMA must then give Congress three days’ notice before the official public announcement is made.

SAFER grants for Fiscal Year 2010 could be made available as early as this summer.


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