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February 25, 2014 > Swalwell announces federal grant for Alameda County Fire Dept

Swalwell announces federal grant for Alameda County Fire Dept

Submitted By Allison Bormel

U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) announced on February 12, that 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.

ÒThis 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,Ó said Swalwell. ÒThis funding enables ACFD to replace retiring firefighters and maintain its current staffing levels so they can continue to keep our communities safe.Ó

ÒThe grant allows the ACFD to hire new firefighters, but does not add new firefighter positions or expand our current deployment model,Ó said Interim Fire Chief Dave Rocha. ÒThis 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.Ó

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 grantÕs 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.

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