PHOTO: Assemblyman Goldfeder has announced the open application for the current round of emergency response grants offered by FEMA, and is urging area volunteer departments such as West Hamilton Beach to apply. File Photo
By Forum Staff
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D–Howard Beach) this week announced the open application for the current round of Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With $340 million available nationwide to fund improvements to staffing and deployment capabilities, Goldfeder encouraged local volunteer fire departments to consider applying for the grants.
“The brave men and women of our local volunteer fire departments help form the first line of defense during emergencies. True to their name, the SAFER grants are great opportunity for our departments to improve their life-saving capabilities and make the whole community a stronger, safer place,” said Goldfeder. “I urge every department across southern Queens and Rockaway to consider applying for this great opportunity.”
Beginning Feb. 22, FEMA will be accepting applications for its current round of SAFER grants. According to FEMA, the $340 million in federal funds allocated to the program will go directly to municipal and volunteer fire departments to “increase or maintain the number of trained ‘front line’ fire fighters in the community.” This is intended to help reduce response times and increase the number of trained personnel assembled at the scene of emergencies.
Eligible volunteer fire departments may apply for funding in two program categories: Hiring of Firefighters, and Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters. For both categories, a Peer Review Panel will judge applications based on criteria including a department’s staffing needs, potential benefits to the department and the larger community, impact on daily operations, and overall financial needs. Municipalities, career fire departments and fire districts are also eligible to apply for grants under the Hiring of Firefighters category.
During Fiscal Year 2014 (the last round of grants awarded), more than $8 million was doled out to fire departments across New York State. With five volunteer fire departments and numerous FDNY members in his district, Goldfeder recommended all eligible departments to apply for this current round of funding.
The deadline to submit applications is Friday, March 25. Fire departments are encouraged to contact the Assemblyman’s office by phone at (718) 945-9550 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.