BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The Bridgeport Fire Department received a massive financial boost by winning a $2.7 million FEMA grant on Friday.
The funds will pay the salaries of 17 out of the 24 new fire recruits for the next two years.
“The federal grant is tremendously helpful for our city and our Fire Department,” MayorJoe Ganim said in a statement. “The Bridgeport Fire Department has been dangerously understaffed for years and this grant will allow us to bring in a new class of badly needed recruits.
"Adding new firefighters will not only make our city safer, but funding more firefighters will also reduce our spending on overtime, which helps the city’s bottom line. My top priority as Mayor is strengthening public safety for all in Bridgeport and this grant is a huge boost to our efforts.”The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants Program (SAFER) was created by FEMA to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities.
"I am so grateful to Sen. (Chris) Murphy, Sen. (Richard) Blumenthal and Congressman (Jim) Himes for helping our department access these crucial federal funds through the SAFER grant program. This grant will allow us to open the door to our new recruits and return our staffing level once again to full strength at 282 firefighters," Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode said.
"These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day – at a moment’s notice – to protect a city of over 147,000 residents. With the addition of our new recruit class, our department will be better equipped to meet the needs of our community.”
Bridgeport’s class of 24 new fire recruits are scheduled to begin a weeklong orientation at the Bridgeport Fire Headquarters on Aug. 22. The recruits start a 14-week training camp at the Connecticut State Fire Training Academy in Windsor Locks on Aug 29.
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