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Rep. Pascrell’s SAFER Act Delivers
$3.3 Million To Clifton and
Kearny Fire Departments

By on August 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, recently  announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded new federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Act grants to the Clifton Fire Department in the amount of $1,730,564 to hire 11 firefighters lost through attrition and to the Kearny Fire Department in the amount of $1,595,844 to hire 12 firefighters lost through attrition. In May, Rep. Pascrell wrote to DHS in strong support of Clifton’s and Kearny’s applications.

“This federal grant couldn’t come at a better time, as communities like Clifton and Kearny continue to feel budgets constraints that threaten critical public safety resources,” stated Rep. Pascrell, who was a prime author and mover of both the SAFER Act and the FIRE (Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement) Act.  “I wrote the SAFER Act to help fire departments like Clifton and Kearny avoid having to face a significantly depleted force that could potentially jeopardize the safety of our communities. While there are still those in Congress who seek to undermine these effective programs, I stand committed to fighting to ensure they are fully funded in order to assist our brave men and women on the front lines.”

With Rep. Pascrell’s support, Clifton was previously awarded $1.3 million in a 2012 SAFER grant which allowed the department to hire 8 firefighters.  This marks Kearny’s first SAFER grant.

“As always, the City of Clifton appreciates the work of Congressman Pascrell on behalf of our residents,” said Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi.  “In today’s economy, any additional help a city can receive is a wonderful thing for the taxpayer.”

“I extend my sincere gratitude to Congressman Pascrell for his efforts in ensuring the safety that Kearny residents expect and deserve,” said Kearny Mayor Al Santos. “The Town of Kearny Fire Department has undergone significant funding and staffing challenges, so this federal grant comes at a particularly important time.”

Federal funds to local fire departments are awarded through two main programs. The SAFER program makes grants to local fire departments to assist in the hiring of firefighters.

Assistance to Firefighters Grants, part of the FIRE program, makes direct grants to fire departments to purchase equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, and other firefighting and fire prevention activities. It also funds Fire Prevention and Safety Grants which are used for fire awareness and prevention activities, as well as fire safety related research.

Rep. Pascrell saw the FIRE Act signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. Since the FIRE Act and SAFER were initially authorized, in FY2001 and 2005, respectively, they have provided more than $8 billion in grants to local fire departments to purchase equipment and hire approximately 18,500 firefighters. Since 2001, New Jersey fire departments have received $152.1 million in funding from the AFG program and $146.5 million in funding for the SAFER program since 2005.

Earlier this month, Rep. Pascrell was joined by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and local firefighters in calling for a greater commitment from Congress to support firefighters and reverse the impact of sequestration cuts on public safety.

Office of Congressman Bill Pascrell