(Hartford, CT) – The Connecticut Congressional delegation today announced a $1.2 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Recruitment and Retention grant for the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association to help recruit and retain local volunteer firefighters. The funds will help support 15 local departments over a two-year period through marketing campaigns, mentoring programs, technology, planning, media assistance, and leadership training.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
“Volunteer firefighters provide immeasurable and life-saving service to their towns, responding with the utmost professionalism to fires and emergencies day and night. This grant will help recruit, train and retain these volunteers, saving local tax dollars and providing fire departments the resources they need to keep our communities safe,” the delegation stated.
“The CFCA is proud to spearhead this program that sets out to increase the operational readiness of the Connecticut fire service as a whole to further improve services to the residents and visitors of the state of Connecticut. The CFCA thanks all of the Connecticut elected officials for their continued support,” said CFCA President Robert Shea, chief of the Portland Fire Department. “Retention is a critical portion of this grant. It is important that the each municipal leader work with their service chiefs in the development of incentives for their volunteers such as pensions, tax abatements and pay per call stipends during their budget deliberations each year. Towns save millions of dollars each year through their volunteer public safety departments.”
The grant is the 9th firefighting grant awarded in Connecticut for Fiscal Year 2013. Stamford received $1.05 million to hire six additional firefighters through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and Assistance to Firefighters grant programs administered by FEMA. Norwalk, Orange, Waterbury, Stafford Ambulance Association Inc. and the town of East Hartford also received grants to support operations and safety measures.