The Port Washington Fire Department will receive more than $500,000 in federal funding. The money will be used to recruit four additional firefighers.
News of the grant was announced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, Wednesday. The grant totals $507,200 in Round 8 of the 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers SAFER awards, which are designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards and improve the nation’s overall level of preparedness.
“With these funds, Port Washington residents can rest easy knowing even more firefighters stand at the ready to protect their community,” Schumer said, in a statement. “With the Port Washington Fire Department’s new hires, our local heroes will have the more personnel on their team to save lives.”
"This award will bolster and enhance the response of our volunteer firefighters in responding to emergencies, especially during the day-time hours when many volunteers are at work, or in school," noted said Robert Kropacek, who chairs the PWFD's Board of Directors.
Kropacek added that the PWFD "has not yet reviewed the possibility of continuing the program past its two year period of performance. We are grateful for the work of Senator Schumer and his staff in seeing this award through to fruition.
Schumer was a sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
The goal of the SAFER grant program is 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 program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid off due to the economy.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants 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.