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November 12, 2018
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SAFER GRANTS

FACT SHEET of Changes To SAFER Grant Program

What is SAFER?

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program was created to

provide funding to fire departments to hire additional fire fighters to help ensure compliance with

staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection

Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What Has Changed?

The rules governing the use of SAFER funds have changed. The IAFF wrote and lobbied to also

make SAFER grants available to rehire fire fighters who have been laid off and bring back

positions that are not being filled as a result of the current financial crisis. In addition, SAFER

grants apply to municipalities that issued layoff notices before October 31, 2009, and have not yet

taken effect. Grants will be expedited in order to deliver funds as soon as possible.

For a position to be eligible for funding under the rehiring initiative, it must have been the object of

a layoff action that was effected between January 1, 2008 and October 31, 2009. The new rules

will NOT require your jurisdiction to match any of the federal funds or to provide maintenance

funding for the positions.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano delayed the 2009 application process to ensure that the $210

million that Congress appropriated for SAFER for Fiscal Year 2009 and the $420 million

appropriated for Fiscal Year 2010 are available under the new guidelines.

Who Can Apply?

Management must file for the grants, but the IAFF is available to assist your community in applying

for the grants.

The FY 2009 SAFER award conditions do not apply to previous SAFER grants, nor will they

remain in effect beyond 2010.

When Can You Apply?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin accepting applications for Staffing for

Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants beginning November 16, 2009, at 8:00

a.m. Eastern Time. The application period will close December 18, 2009, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Time.

Applications for $210 million in SAFER funding will be available through the Assistance to

Firefighters (FIRE Act) web site at

second application period will open in early 2010 for the $420 million appropriated for Fiscal Year

2010.

For additional information or assistance, contact Jennifer Stewart at (202) 824-8631 or

www.firegrantsupport.com, along with program guidance. A

jstewart@iaff.org

.
Jul 03, 2010
FEMA Announces $25 Million in SAFER Grants for Fire Fighters
June 25, 2010 -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded another round of grants – totaling $25,786,555 -- to IAFF affiliates through the Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) program for Fiscal Year 2009.

“This is very good news for these fire departments, which have been struggling to remain fully staffed and serving their communities through tough economic times,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “These SAFER grants are putting more than 1,000 fire fighters back to work, and state and local governments should approve them as expeditiously as possible.”

IAFF departments have now received $134 million in SAFER grants since March 31. 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 that allow SAFER funds to be used to rehire fire fighters laid off as a result of the economic crisis. The grants available in Fiscal Year 2010 will restore another 3,400 jobs.

Fall River, MA Local 1314 received $10,837,003 in this latest round, the largest SAFER grant awarded so far to a single community. Local 1314 President Michael Coogan says budget cuts have reduced Fall River’s count of fire fighters by about one third. 

The grant, which he expects will win easy approval from local lawmakers, will help make 44 one-year positions permanent and will add another 44 positions, returning fire fighter staffing to levels not seen since 2008.

“This grant award has been a big boost to morale because a lot of fire fighters here have been concerned about their job security,” says Coogan, who expects to add fire fighters before the end of the year. “This will allow us to better protect the community and our membership.”

Other communities receiving SAFER grants in this round were: Chelsea (Massachusetts) Fire Department, $1,827,300; City of Clermont (Florida) Fire Department, $212,452; City of Petaluma (California) Fire Department, $1,230,180; 
Cleveland (Ohio) Fire Department, $1,029,725; Kokomo (Indiana) Fire Department, $1,946,640; and New Orleans (Louisiana) Fire Department, $8,535,389.
 
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. 

While the majority of SAFER grants have been accepted by local officials, some IAFF affiliates have experienced trouble getting their cities to accept the grants. Some local officials have resisted hiring back fire fighters at a time when tight budgets are forcing cuts among other public sector employees.
For instance, Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District (represented by Southwest Florida Professional Fire Fighters Local 1826) was awarded nearly $9 million in SAFER funding in May. The City, however, initially balked at accepting the funding citing a number of reasons.

The IAFF, with the help of FEMA, was able to clarify misconceptions about the grant and convince Lehigh Acres officials to accept the funding.

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

May 22, 2010
More Jobs Saved or Restored With SAFER Grant Awards May 21, 2010 -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded more than $12 million in grants through the Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) program for Fiscal Year 2009. The grant awards announced May 21 will help some fire departments bring back laid-off fire fighters. “It is always good news when these grants are announced, but this round is of special importance for some of our affiliates who have been waiting a long time to hear the news. I am especially pleased to see laid-off fire fighters returning to the job,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “I know we have departments that are waiting to hear about awards, and I want to assure those IAFF affiliates that more grant announcements are imminent and are prioritized so that fire departments that have had layoffs are getting the highest priority and receiving their funding first.” Akron, Ohio, which was among the awards announced May 21, laid off 38 Akron Local 330 fire fighters in October 2009 to offset a projected budget deficit. With the support of U.S. Representative Betty Sutton (D-OH) and others, the Akron Fire Department was awarded $6 million – the full amount requested in its grant application. Other IAFF affiliates receiving awards are: Carmel Valley, CA Local 4096 with $772,000; San Bernardino City, CA Local 891 with $2.7 million; Edwardsville, KS (represented by Kansas City, KS Local 64) with $218,000; Huntington, IN Local 680 with $817,000; Farmington Hills, MI Local 2659 with $289,000; Muskegon Heights, MI Local 615 with $397,000; and Niles, OH Local 320 with $240,000. In April, the Orlando Fire Department received an $8.3 million SAFER grant to save the jobs of 46 Orlando, FL Local 1365 fire fighters who have faced the threat of layoffs for close to a year. “It is no exaggeration that those guys were gone without this grant. This is a huge relief,” says Local 1365 President Steve Clelland. Other awards announced in April include Columbia, SC Local 793 with $1.4 million; Los Angeles County, CA Local 1014 with $3.5 million; Grand Rapids, MI Local 366 with $2.9 million; and Worcester, MA Local 1009 with $2.2 million. Click here for a complete list of departments that have received a SAFER grant for Fiscal Year 2009. Once a round of awards is determined, the fire department/municipality must notify the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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 soon as this summer. For additional information or assistance, contact Jennifer Stewart at (202) 824-8631 or jstewart@iaff.org.
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.

 
 


Jun 13, 2010

DHS Announces Round Six of SAFER Grant Awards

May 21, 2010 -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced several more grant awards through the Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) program for Fiscal Year 2009. The awards will help fire departments bring back laid-off fire fighters, retain current staffing levels and make new hires.

“It is always good news when these grants are announced, but these last rounds have been of special importance for some of our affiliates who have been waiting a long time to hear the news. I am especially pleased to see laid-off fire fighters returning to the job,” says 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.”

Among those fire departments bringing back laid-off fire fighters are Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District (represented by Southwest Florida Professional Fire Fighters Local 1826), Muncie, IN Local 1348, Akron, OH Local 330 and Orlando, FL Local 1365.

Lehigh Acres and Muncie’s awards were both announced on May 28. For Lehigh Acres, $8.9 million was awarded to fund 46 fire fighter positions – some are layoff rehires while others are staff retention.

Because of Florida’s Amendment 1 and the economic downturn, Lehigh Acres has lost 72 percent in the taxable income used to fund the fire department budget. Lehigh Acres is a taxing district, therefore, the fire department is funded solely by tax dollars.

The income loss forced the district to layoff 35 fire fighters. With the SAFER award, those fire fighter positions, plus 11 more, will be restored. “This will have a tremendous impact on the safety of our fire fighters and the community they serve,” says Local 1826 President Walt Stevens. “For too long, our members have been responding with the bare minimum. Now, they can return to a safer level of response.”

Muncie Local 1348 will rehire 25 of the 32 laid-off fire fighters with the $3.5 million award it received. “Our unfortunate reality is that our mayor would only agree to bring 25 back and only if we gave up the minimum staffing clause in our contract and drop two layoff-related grievances,” says Local 1348 President Michael Whited.

Whited adds, “Bringing back the 25 will allow us to put more fire apparatus on the street and more fire fighters per apparatus. That is certainly a big step in the right direction.”

Due in part to the strong support of U.S. Representative Betty Sutton (D-OH) and others, Akron, OH Local 330 received a $6 million award on May 21. With those dollars, Local 330 will bring back 38 laid-off fire fighters who received their pink slips in October 2009 to offset a projected budget deficit.

In April, the Orlando Fire Department received an $8.3 million SAFER grant to save the jobs of 46 Orlando, FL Local 1365 fire fighters who have faced the threat of layoffs for close to a year.

“It is no exaggeration that those guys were gone without this grant. This is a huge relief,” says Local 1365 President Steve Clelland.

Other awards announced in April include Columbia, SC Local 793 with $1.4 million; Los
Angeles County, CA Local 1014 with $3.5 million; Grand Rapids, MI Local 366 with $2.9 million; and Worcester, MA Local 1009 with $2.2 million.

In May, awards were also given to: Carmel Valley, CA Local 4096 with $772,000; San Bernardino City, CA Local 891 with $2.7 million; Edwardsville, KS (represented by Kansas City, KS Local 64) with $218,000; Huntington, IN Local 680 with $817,000; Farmington Hills, MI Local 2659 with $289,000; Muskegon Heights, MI Local 615 with $397,000; Niles, OH Local 320 with $240,000; Newport, KY Local 45 with $337,000; Richfield, MN Local 1215 with $305,000; Soledad, CA Local 4584 with $163,000; Tiffin, OH Local 322 with $280,000; Plymouth, MA 1768 with $627,000; Uniontown, PA Local 955 with $632,000; Westfield, MA Local 1111 with $268,000 and and Willimantic, CT Local 1033 with $263,000.

Click here for a complete list of departments that have received a SAFER grant for Fiscal Year 2009.

Once a round of awards is determined, the fire department/municipality must notify the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that it has accepted the grant. FEMA must then give Congress three days notice before the official public announcement is made.

Another $420 million in SAFER grants for Fiscal Year 2010 could be made available as soon as this summer – equal to as many as 3,400 jobs.


Feb 23, 2011

Proposed Budget Cuts in House will Jeopardize Public 

Safety and Put Fire Fighters at Risk 

 

Washington, DC – The International Association of Fire Fighters today urged members of Congress to 

reject a proposal to slash funding for two crucial federal programs that fund public safety. 

 

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday proposed cutting the FIRE Act and Staffing for 

Adequate Fire and Emergency Response [SAFER] grant program by a combined $510 million, an 

unprecedented cut that would place the public and fire fighters in danger by reducing the resources of 

the nation’s fire departments. 

 

“We understand the need to save money, but these misguided cuts will cost lives. This budget proposal 

isn’t a wise investment, it’s a recipe for disaster,” IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said. 

 

The budget proposal includes eliminating the $420 million SAFER program. SAFER grants in fiscal 

2009 allowed fire departments throughout the nation to rehire thousands of fire fighters who were laid 

off when municipalities felt the brunt of the recession and had to cut programs and lay off workers to 

balance budgets. 

 

SAFER has been an extraordinary safety net for those communities. It has also been a successful jobs 

program, allowing communities to preserve public safety by ensuring that fire departments have an 

adequate number of fire fighters. 

 

“Eliminating SAFER isn’t just bad for the fire fighters who will lose their jobs if the program is 

eliminated, it’s bad for the towns and cities that rely on the grants for the fire fighters they wouldn’t 

have otherwise because the recession forced them to cut back. SAFER grants create jobs and boost 

public safety,” Schaitberger said. “Unemployment remains high, and Congress should leave SAFER 

intact if it is serious about creating jobs.” 

 

The House Appropriations Committee also has proposed cutting $90 million from the FIRE Act, 

reducing that program from $390 million to $300 million. FIRE Act grants allow communities to 

purchase life-saving safety equipment – from personal protective gear to breathing apparatus – for fire 

fighters. 

 

“Even in the worst of times the safety and security of Americans and the fire fighters sworn to protect 

them must be among our highest priorities,” Schaitberger said. “Not only is it vital for government to 

fund a strong military to defend our interests across the globe, we must also invest in the fire fighters 

and paramedics who are on the frontlines here at home.” 

 

The International Association of Fire Fighters represents more than 298,000 full-time professional fire fighters and 

paramedics and is the leading advocate for the health and safety of first responders. 




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