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The Department of Homeland Security has announced that the New Rochelle Fire Department (NRFD) has been awarded a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant due to the efforts of Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representative Nita Lowey (D- NY) and Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY).
The objective of the SAFER program is to enhance the nation and its cities preparedness for fire and emergency first responder related hazards by strengthening local communities’ response capabilities.
Application for the federal grant was made by the New Rochelle Fire Department (NRFD) working with the city council and Mayor Noam Bransom. The $1 million-plus grant will add six new firefighter positions for the city.
“This Homeland Security grant will go a long way to enabling us to better protect the community,” said Byron Gray, president of the New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association. “Our deepest thanks go out to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representatives Lowey and Engel who fought to bring this vital federal funding home to New Rochelle.”
The grant will cover the salaries and benefits for the six firefighters for up to two years as long as the city remains in compliance with Homeland Security Administration restrictions. The new firefighters could be in the firehouses by early 2013.
The SAFER grants are administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant program directorate in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
The NRFD staffs six fire stations across the city and responds to a wide variety of fire, hazmat, water rescue and medical emergencies across the city’s 13.2 square miles. New Rochelle is the seventh most populous city in New York with a population of over 77,000 residents in addition to being a transportation hub for Metro North, Amtrak’s busy Northeast corridor, I-95, Route 1 and the Hutchison River Parkway.