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Federal Funds Will Allow Albany Fire Department To Hire 15 New Firefighters 

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced today that the Albany Fire Department will receive a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant in the amount of $1,877,490. The federal assistance is made possible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

“These much-needed federal funds will provide the assistance the City of Albany Fire Department needs to maintain and expand its fire department,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who helped win federal funding 15 years ago to cover the cost to municipalities for fire protection. “Our first responders are our primary line of defense – they safeguard our residents and protect our property. That’s why it is crucial we provide them the support they need to hire the staff necessary to do their jobs to the best of their ability and keep the community safe. I applaud Mayor Kathy Sheehan and her team for their efforts to win this funding and keep their department in top-notch shape.”

“This critical federal funding will enable the Albany Fire Department to invest in hiring more fire personnel,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When we’re able to put more firefighters on the frontlines of serving our community, they can more effectively respond to emergencies and help save more lives. I will continue working to ensure our first responders have all the resources and tools they need to carry out their lifesaving work.”

“Our first responders put themselves at risk each and every day to protect others during times of emergency,” said Rep. Tonko. “While firefighters don’t have the usual nine-to-five day at the office, our local departments still must deal with typical office challenges like attaining and maintaining adequate staff. This grant will ensure the Albany Fire Department will continue to have the personnel they need to protect our community from fire and fire-related hazards. I thank Mayor Sheehan and her team for their hard work in earning this grant and protecting our homes and business in Albany.”

“This was truly a group effort, and I thank all those who worked on this grant for making it successful,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “This grant allows us to add more firefighters without having to add the City of Albany’s payroll, and it also means the City will be able to save on overtime pay, which is also welcome news to taxpayers in our fiscally strapped city.”

“I am extremely grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their assistance in securing funding under the SAFER grant program,” said Albany Fire Department Chief Warren Abriel. “This will enable the Albany Fire Department to more effectively staff our responding units, which will enable us to even better serve the citizens of Albany. These new members will also contribute to our firefighters’ safety, which is always a top priority.”                      

The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire. The objective of the program is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid-off due to the economy.

The objective of the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters activity is to create a more favorable working environment for volunteer firefighters. Such an environment would encourage current volunteers to continue with their volunteerism as well as entice new volunteers to join. Ultimately, it is hoped that the recruitment and retention activity will create a net increase in the number of trained, certified, and competent firefighters capable of safely responding to emergencies likely to occur within the fire department’s geographic response area. The primary focus of this activity is to enlist and/or retain volunteer firefighters who are trained in the operations of firefighting and emergency response.