Senator Scott Brown, along with Congressman Jim McGovern and Senator John Kerry, announced today that the Worcester Fire Department has received $2,716,209 in federal funding, allowing the City to retain 17 firefighter jobs.
The Worcester Fire Department has seen a drastic reduction in the number of firefighters over the past decade through budget cuts and attrition, and is currently facing nearly 15 retirements over the coming year.
Today's funding, awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants programs, is a key component in ensuring the recently graduated class of 31 recruits will be able to serve the community over the next two years.
"I'm proud to support this funding to keep our firefighters in Worcester on the job," said Senator Scott Brown. "With many local budgets strained by the bad economy, I'll continue working to secure SAFER grants for Massachusetts so our fire departments are fully equipped to protect our communities."
"The Worcester Fire Department has an incredible tradition of selfless service and dedication," said Congressman Jim McGovern. "Day in and day out, they protect and serve our community with courage and honor. This key federal funding will prevent severe reductions in staffing, and allow the department to meet their needs over the next two years."
"The tragedy in Worcester last year was a real-life horrific reminder that every single time the alarm bells ring, firefighters are putting their lives on the line for us," said Senator John Kerry. "This investment means a fully staffed department with the tools and training they need to respond to an emergency at a moment's notice. I'm grateful to Administrator Fugate and Secretary Napolitano for helping us keep our firefighters and communities safe."
"I thank the Obama Administration and our congressional delegation for investing in our cities and towns to help strengthen our local economies and put all communities on a path towards economic recovery and stability," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The SAFER grant's investment in the Worcester Fire Department will add jobs and strengthen public safety here in the Commonwealth."
"There is a history of extraordinary service and commitment within the Worcester Fire Department, and we need to do our part to ensure these firefighters can continue to serve the community and our Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Our Administration thanks our congressional delegation, especially Congressman McGovern, for their advocacy in securing the SAFER grant for Worcester as we continue to provide cities and towns with more tools in the toolbox to support local aid and critical jobs."
"We recently graduated a class of 31 new firefighters with the support of a previous SAFER grant. This class was critical to maintain the operations of the Worcester Fire Department. This new SAFER grant allows us to sustain these manpower levels through Fiscal Year 2014 to continue to keep our community safe. We are extremely grateful to Congressman McGovern, Senator Kerry and Senator Brown," said City Manager Michael O'Brien.
"I was pleased to hear this great news. I want to especially thank Senators Kerry and Brown and Congressman McGovern for their tireless advocacy for the City of Worcester," said Mayor Joseph Petty. "This money will allow our City and Firefighters to remain safe and will ensure we can continue to operate at the appropriate level of service."
"I would like to thank our Federal delegation for their continued support and for assisting the Worcester Fire Department in our efforts to protect and serve the citizens of Worcester," said Fire Chief Gerard Dio.
BACKGROUND ON FEMA'S SAFER GRANT:
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA and OSHA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720 and OSHA 1910.134).