The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced $55 million in direct assistance grants to 48 career, volunteer, and combination fire departments. This is the Department’s first round of awards for the Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants program. Additional awards are forthcoming.
Since 2005, SAFER has awarded 1,137 grants totaling more than $500 million to fire departments to increase their cadre of frontline firefighters. DHS received 2,128 applications for nearly $1.25 billion in grant requests in FY09.
The SAFER grants program awards grants to assist local fire departments throughout the nation with staffing and deployment capabilities so they may respond to emergencies whenever they occur, assuring their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. SAFER grants provide funding for hiring new firefighters, rehiring laid-off firefighters, and programs for recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Ultimately, SAFER grantees should achieve more efficient responses and a safer incident scene.
SAFER grants are administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Preparedness Directorate through its Office of Grants and Training, in cooperation with the United States Fire Administration, also within the Preparedness Directorate.