GRANT WILL REPLENISH FIREFIGHTER STAFF FOLLOWING RETIREMENTS
Newark is one of 21 New Jersey municipalities to receive 2010 SAFER program grant
Newark, NJ – April 27, 2011 – U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ-10) were joined by Council President Donald M. Payne, Jr., Business Administrator Julien X. Neals, Esq., Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, Fire Chief John G. Centanni, and Newark firefighters today to announce the Newark Fire Department was awarded $7.1 million in federal funding to hire 70 new firefighters. The funding is being made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program and will be used to fill vacancies left by recently retired Newark firefighters. The press conference was held at the Newark Fire Department Training Academy, at 191 Orange Street, in Newark’s Central Ward.
“This federal grant funding will help ensure that the Newark Fire Department has the staffing necessary to protect local families and secure our region,” said Senator Lautenberg, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that funds the SAFER grant program. “I am committed to making sure our fire departments are equipped and staffed when the alarm sounds and I will continue fighting in Washington to fund homeland security programs that benefit our state.”
“The 7.1 million dollar two-year SAFER grant funding awarded by FEMA comes as a much needed boost to the Newark Fire Department. Recent job losses have left much needed positions to be filled. Safer grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase the number of trained firefighters available in their communities. The Safer grant funding is a win-win as more jobs are now available to the unemployed and the residents of Newark will be safer because of the new hires,” said Congressman Payne.
“We are grateful to our federal partners, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Donald Payne, for their hard work, courage, and leadership in gaining the City of Newark this vitally important grant, which will enable our fire department to strengthen its ranks. Public safety is a top priority of this administration. I commend Fire Director Ziyad and his team for their determination to apply for this grant. These funds will continue to support the mission of our fire department to save lives and protect property in the City of Newark,” said Mayor Booker in a statement.
The SAFER grant program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained “front line” firefighters in their communities. The program is administered by FEMA and funds salaries for two years.
On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ-10) were joined by Council President Donald Payne, Jr., Business Administrator Julien X. Neals, Esq., Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, Fire Chief John Centanni, and Newark firefighters to announce the Newark Fire Department was awarded $7.1 million in federal funding to hire 70 new firefighters.
The funding is being made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program and will be used to fill vacancies left by recently retired Newark firefighters.
The press conference was held at the Newark Fire Department Training Academy, at 191 Orange Street, in Newark’s Central Ward. Here, Senator Lautenberg (left) is greeted by Fire Director Ziyad (center) and Fire Chief Centanni (right). At far left is Brendan Gill, New Jersey State Director for Sen. Lautenberg.
“This is a great day for Newark. Last week we unveiled new Hazmat vehicles and today we are announcing that $7 million is coming to our city to support a group of men and women and an organization that we revere. Our firefighters put their lives at risk everyday to protect and serve Newark’s residents. We need to continue to support our firefighters by providing them with the state-of-the-art equipment and staff power to continue to make our city safer,” said Council President Payne.
“Today’s USAR Fire Strike Team Drill and the federal grant money we are receiving today show the importance of firefighters in protecting our residents from fires and other disasters. We are thankful that our federal representatives have taken the lead to ensure that our Fire Department, despite challenging economic times, can have the manpower it needs to continue to protect and serve us every day, with professionalism, courage, and commitment,” said Business Administrator Neals.
Fire Director Ziyad said, “This federal SAFER grant is critical to our efforts to protect Newark from fire and other disasters. It will enable us to replace many firefighters who have retired, and enhance the level of protection we provide to the residents of the City of Newark. Newark is one of the top cities in the country for Homeland Security first response. We are proud that this is the fourth straight year that our Fire Department has hosted the four-day Metro Urban Search and rescue STRIKE Team exercise, which prepares firefighters from different northern New Jersey municipalities to work together for a united response to major incidents like terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, or natural disasters. I thank Senator Lautenberg and Congressman Payne for their leadership on this issue.”
“For the Fire Department, the most important thing is that we’re allowed to put people back on the street. We can enhance our response and the safety of the responders and our citizens. This is a very good day for the State of New Jersey, and I’d like to thank all of our partners for making this happen,” said Chief Centanni.
Including this award to Newark, 21 New Jersey fire departments have received more than $52 million from Fiscal Year 2010 SAFER awards. Other recent awardees include: Trenton – $13.7 million; Atlantic City – $9.7 million; Jersey City – $8.1 million; Camden – $5.1 million and East Orange – $1.9 million.
The recently passed Congressional budget for Fiscal Year 2011 has an additional $405 million for the SAFER program. This funding will be made available for fire departments across the country to apply for later this year. For more information about the SAFER program, please visit: http://www.fema.gov/firegrants/safer.
Before and after the announcement, Fire Director Ziyad and Fire Chief Centanni conducted a walk-through with participating members of the Essex County Fire Chiefs Association and other dignitaries of the Metro Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Strike Team drill which is taking place at the same location where the announcement will take place. More than 400 firefighters and emergency responders from nine Northern New Jersey Fire Departments and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department participate in this drill. This is the fourth straight year that Newark has hosted the four-day exercise, which prepares firefighters from different New Jersey municipalities to work together in major incidents like terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, or natural disasters.
“It is appropriate that today we are announcing receipt of this grant at the same time our fire department is hosting this year’s annual drill again. I commend all of the members of the Metro Strike Team for their creativity and professionalism in developing this scenario. A disaster can strike any time, anywhere,” Chief Centanni said. “This year marks the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, and the best tribute we can make as first responders is to be prepared. Multi-agency training is a great tool to build camaraderie between all members of the team and create a strong working relationship in the event the Strike Team Task Force needs to be deployed.”
Since 2006, the Newark Fire Department has opened new and renovated fire stations, and added new vehicles to its inventory. The Department has 16 engine companies, eight ladder companies, and five special operations support companies. The Newark Fire Department also has a number of specialized units, including an Arson Unit, a Hazardous Materials Unit, a Fireboat, a Confined Space Rescue Team, a Foam Tanker, and a Cascade Unit, which responds to emergency scenes to fill air bottles. In addition, the Department is one of only nine in the State of New Jersey whose Metro Strike Team has a Collapse Unit, to deal with collapsed buildings. Most of the Department’s specialized units are assigned for regional response, to assist neighboring communities that lack such equipment and training. The Department recently acquired two Hazmat vehicles that make Newark one of the three best such responders on the East Coast.
About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third-oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.
With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.
For more information on the City of Newark, please visit www.ci.newark.nj.us
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