Payne, Menendez, Booker, Baraka, Sires Announce $7.4 Million Federal Grant to Hire 38 Newark Firefighters

Sep 22, 2015 Issues: Local Issues

NEWARK, NJ – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-8) joined Essex County Executive DiVencenzo, Jr., and Newark Fire Chief John G. Centanni to announce that the Newark Fire Department has been awarded a $7.4 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to hire 38 firefighters and help bring the department in compliance with nationally recognized best-practices for staffing.

“Every day, our firefighters take very real risks to keep us safe, and they deserve our best efforts to ensure they can successfully perform their duties and protect themselves from harm,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “As Newark continues to grow, it is essential that its fire department has the resources and personnel needed to keep up with that growth. This funding will enhance the safety and efficiency of the Newark Fire Department as they continue to ensure the well-being of our community.”

“Our first responders put their lives on the line each day, and we must make certain that they have the resources they need to save lives,” said Sen. Menendez.  “This critical federal funding is our way of saying thank you to our heroes for keeping us safe, and it will help ensure the Newark Fire Department is adequately staffed and our firefighters ready to answer the bell when emergencies strike.”

“New Jersey’s firefighters and fire departments protect our communities,” said Sen. Booker. “But they can’t do their job if they don’t have the staff and resources they need. Not only will this grant create 38 good-paying jobs here in Newark, but it will help the brave men and women of the Newark Fire Department save lives and ensure public safety.”

"Our communities depend on the bravery and heroism of our first responders each and every day," said Rep. Sires. “This grant will help our state's largest fire department better meet the needs of its continues."

"We wish to thank FEMA and the members of New Jersey’s federal delegation, Senators Booker and Menendez and Congressmen Payne and Sires, for acknowledging the efforts of Newark’s firefighters and emergency response workers with the SAFER Grant,” said Mayor Baraka. “Newark is the State of New Jersey’s largest city — an urban center which is home to one of the nation’s largest air, rail and shipping hubs, as well as more than 280,000 residents, and growing — and our service needs are complex. The SAFER grant will enhance our staffing needs for firefighters and emergency response workers and our efforts to deliver to the citizens of Newark deserve the best services possible.”

The SAFER program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and seeks to increase the number of frontline firefighters, enhancing the ability of departments to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and assuring that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.

The SAFER program has provided a total of $55.8 million in grants to New Jersey fire departments throughout FY 2014, including a $21 million grant to the Atlantic City Fire Department announced by Menendez and Booker earlier this month that will prevent the layoffs of 85 local firefighters.

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