Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis announced a federal fire grant totaling $359,448 for the City of Tonawanda Fire Department. The award is provided through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) program.
“Federal fire grants are awarded through a highly competitive program and awardees are selected by a panel of peers and experts within the fire safety field,” said Congressman Higgins. “This grant award speaks to the quality of the City of Tonawanda’s application and plan to improve services within the City.”
Mayor Rick Davis said, “This grant will allow us to hire two additional firefighters to allow us more manpower to help fight fires in the city. Every year we all walk a fine line between trying to provide the best services possible at the lowest, practical cost. I cannot thank Congressman Higgins enough for his efforts in obtaining this grant. I also want to thank the fire department who, along with the city, collaboratively worked together to lower the financial impact on city residents.”
SAFER grants are aimed at increasing the number of firefighters and enhancing a department’s ability to comply with federal standards to ensure their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. This year Congress appropriated $345 million for competitive grants through the SAFER Program.
Fire Chief Charles Stuart added, “I am extremely pleased that we will receive this funding which will allow us to fill two long-vacant firefighter positions. This added help will increase our efficiency and control overtime costs with minimal impact on our taxpayers. I would also like to point out that getting this type of grant involves a very competitive process so I am very grateful for the assistance I received from Amanda Shepler and our department members who worked very hard preparing our grant application. I am very thankful for the collaborative efforts that took place between our local elected officials and union leadership that have resulted in an improved staffing model. I’d also like to send a big thank you to Senator’s Gillibrand and Schumer and Congressman Higgins, whose continued support for this grant program, ensures that fire departments all across the US receive badly needed assistance.”
The City of Tonawanda Fire Department is a “combination” department utilizing both career and volunteer firefighters. The Department operates two fire stations, including a headquarters on William Street and a substation on Wheeler Street.
City of Tonawanda firefighters protect local businesses, visitors and the more than 16,000 residents of the City. Department personnel respond to emergencies caused by fire, medical, hazardous materials, severe weather conditions, and other natural or man-made catastrophes, as well as providing education on issues related to fire prevention and code enforcement.