U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today announced the upcoming open period for local fire departments to apply for federal funding under the Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The SAFER program provides federal grants to local fire departments to recruit, train and retain firefighters. The application period will run from Monday, November 16th thru Friday, December 18th, 2009, with awards being announced early next year.
"All too often we read of funding shortfalls in city and town budgets threatening emergency services in the community. The SAFER grant program provides additional options to municipalities to ensure staffing at local fire departments is not jeopardized," said LoBiondo, a member of the Congressional Fire Caucus. "Local communities such as Absecon, Bridgeton and Mullica Hill have benefited from the SAFER program this year. I strongly encourage the fire departments across South Jersey to take advantage of this critical funding source."
Similar to the popular Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) which grants federal funding in one-year grants directly to fire departments to support the nation's firefighters, the SAFER program will award approximately $210 million in competitive grants to local fire departments specifically for the recruitment and retention of volunteer and professional firefighters. Applications can be found at www.firegrantsupport.com.
The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) administers both programs in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. For the last seven years, Congressman LoBiondo's office has hosted local seminars for area fire departments to highlight the benefits of these grant programs.