This morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the District that it has been awarded over $7.8 million to help restore staffing levels and reopen closed fire stations. The two-year SAFER grant will give the District the ability to reopen closed fire stations and rehire laid-off firefighters. This was the second time the district had applied for the grant. This grant has the ability to take the District’s staffing level to 54 fire suppression personnel. To get the grant process started, the District is calling for a special board meeting on Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30 PM.
In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, Congress passed the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act—popularly called the “SAFER Act”—and signed into law November 24, 2003. The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
The goal of SAFER is to “improve and restore” fire departments staffing so they may more effectively respond to and mitigate emergencies. Improve ability of the fire departments to assemble a sufficient number of firefighters at a structure fire in compliance with NFPA 1710 and 1720. Assist fire departments in reaching the four (4) persons staffing on first-arriving suppression unit for structure fires as listed in OSHA 1910 and improve firefighter safety by meeting minimum staffing guidelines.
Administered through FEMA, SAFER has put thousands of fire fighters back to work, giving a much-needed boost to public safety in countless struggling communities.