Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1) today announced a $457,983 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant for Windsor. The grant was awarded through The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The funds are part of 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."
"The apprentice firefighter recruitment and retention program funded by the SAFER grant will increase the safety of our community, as well as surrounding communities, and increase firefighter safety at the same time," said Fire Captain Ron Busch, author of the grant application. "Equally important, we are training the firefighters of tomorrow."
"The importance of this grant cannot be overstated," said Windsor Fire Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Matt Gustafson. "It comes at a time when revenue shortfalls are threatening our ability to provide an adequate level of service. It's a homerun for Windsor Fire."
The funds are being used for recruitment and retention of Apprentice Fire Fighters, as well as for personnel protective equipment, uniforms, medical benefits, workers compensation and pre-employment cost associated with hiring and employing Apprentice Fire Fighters.
The two-year apprentice fire fighter program puts apprentice fire fighters on duty in a training capacity with full time fire fighters. The grant will allow The Windsor Fire Protection District to fund the program for both years.
The funds also will allow Windsor Fire to increase daily staffing levels at its two stations.
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 awarded approximately $380 million to fire departments and volunteer support groups so they could expand the number of firefighters available to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.