Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1) today announced a $325,217 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant for Healdsburg. The grant was awarded through The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The funds are part of the an AFG program called Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) and will be used to make sure fire departments can attain and maintain 24-hour staffing, and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
"With these grants we're helping our fire departments recruit, hire and retain firefighters," said Thompson. "This will help our economy and help save lives. I am proud to support these grants and thank our firefighters and first responders for their service."
"On behalf of the members of the Healdsburg Fire Department I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Congressman Thompson for the notification of the award for the 2011/12 fiscal year SAFER grant in the amount of $325,221," said Steven Adams, Fire Chief - Healdsburg Fire Department. "In these extraordinary financial times, when we are faced with reducing our staffing, the SAFER grant has become more vital to departments our size in order to effectively and safely respond to emergencies in our community. For that we are truly grateful for the grant and for Mike Thompson's assistance."
The award of the SAFER grant will enable Healdsburg Fire Department to restore the critical full-time fire engineer position. While they have an active volunteer program which augments their paid staff, most volunteers, due to other commitments, are routinely unavailable during the day hours when they are needed most. The 40 hour engineer will allow the Healdsburg Fire Department to maintain the required three-person staffing necessary to operate the engine during day hours.
The objective of the SAFER 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.
In Fiscal Year 2011, the DHS will award approximately $380 million to fire departments and volunteer support groups so they can expand the number of firefighters available to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.