U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) announced the Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) was awarded a two-year $4.1 million federal SAFER grant to hire and train 12 new firefighters.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Swalwell, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter to FEMA in September in support of the grant for the Alameda County Fire Department.
“This federal grant is fantastic news for public safety in Alameda County. I am a proud advocate for our outstanding local firefighters who risk their lives every day to protect our community and was honored to request this funding for the Alameda County Fire Department,” said Swalwell. “This funding enables ACFD to replace retiring firefighters and maintain its current staffing levels so they can continue to keep our communities safe.”
"The grant allows the ACFD to hire new firefighters, but does not add new firefighter positions or expand our current deployment model," said Interim Fire Chief Dave Rocha. "This is a significant step toward maintaining our current staffing levels in the unincorporated service areas of the Department into Fiscal Year 2014/15 and Fiscal Year 2015/16."
The FEMA SAFER program seeks to increase the number of frontline firefighters, enhancing the ability of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing and assuring that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
In accordance with this grant’s requirements, the new firefighters would replace firefighters who have recently retired or who have officially notified ACFD they will be retiring later this year, allowing the department to maintain current staffing levels for two years.
Alameda County Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Mike Honda (CA-17) also wrote letters of support on behalf of the ACFD to receive the SAFER grant.
“I am excited that Alameda County has been selected for this highly competitive funding,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As local economies are continuing to recover from the economic downturn, Federal investments like the SAFER grant are key to maintaining and restoring critical public safety services.”
“I am excited to have worked with the Alameda County Fire Department to secure a $4.1 million grant to ensure the safety of Alameda County residents by funding Rescue Company 24,” said Congressman Honda. “This company has demonstrated fast response time and plays an integral part in our community. My deepest thanks to the men and women who serve us.”