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Higgins: $9.8 million-plus to support hiring of Buffalo firefighters

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Tue, Sep 17th 2019 04:00 pm

Federal funding through Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program headed to City of Buffalo

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced a federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program has been awarded to the City of Buffalo for the hiring of firefighters. The grant is for a total of $9,806,400 and administered by DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Higgins said: “Buffalo is home to an incredible team of firefighters who work tirelessly and around the clock to respond to emergencies across the city. This federal funding will go a long way toward supporting and strengthening the team of professionals eager to answer that call.”

The SAFER program provides federal funding toward salaries and benefits for professional fire departments and volunteer departments toward efforts to hire and retain firefighters. These federal resources are aimed at making sure communities have adequate staffing available to protect the health and safety of the public, toward the goal of having teams available 24 hours a day to fight fires and respond to emergencies.

This fiscal year, Congress approved a total of $350 million in funds for the SAFER program. In evaluating which applicants receive grants, a nonpartisan selection committee of firefighter peers considers the project description, impact on daily operations, financial need, and cost/benefit of each proposal.

Last month, Higgins announced a separate $322,000 fire grant for the City of Buffalo Fire Department for training and equipment.

Higgins has supported funding for the SAFER program in the past and, in recent years, Western New York has received millions of dollars in SAFER grants to help local fire departments, including Lackawanna and Tonawanda, with hiring, recruitment and retention.

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