Congressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce that the Chambersburg Fire Department has been awarded a $1.6 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program (SAFER) grant through the Department of Homeland Security. The grant will save several firefighter jobs.
"This is great news for both the Chambersburg Fire Department and the people of Chambersburg," said Shuster. "These funds will enable the department to keep several firefighters on the job and provide residents with quality, committed first responders."
The funding secured by this grant will support the Borough of Chambersburg Emergency Operation Services for the next two years. The Borough applied for the Federal SAFER Grant program due to a difficult financial situation, which would have slashed current staffing levels. Without this money, eight firefighters would have faced the possibility of being layoff. Congressman Shuster strongly supported the Borough's SAFER application, including sending a letter of support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"We are so very thankful Congressman Shuster was able to work with us in obtaining this federal funding that is helping to keep our community safe and our firefighters on the job," said G. Bryan Salzmann, Solicitor to the Borough of Chambersburg. "We are also equally thankful to Senator Alloway and Representative Rob Kauffman for their support and constant attention to the application process, as well as, Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill and Emergency Services Chief William Fitzgerald's efforts in filing the application."
"This was an extremely competitive grant. Chambersburg competed with municipalities all over the country in similar financial situations. Borough Council Members were steadfast in their desire to give this grant process every opportunity to succeed. Council's recent decision not to direct the layoffs on July 1, 2012 providing additional time to pursue the grant was wise indeed." Salzmann added.
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 program awards grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, prevent layoffs, and to rehire firefighters who were laid-off due to the economy.