LoBiondo Announces Open Application Period for SAFER Grants Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today announced the upcoming open period for local fire departments to apply for federal funding under the Department of Homeland Security?s Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. The SAFER program provides federal grants to local fire departments to recruit, train and retain firefighters. The application period will run from Tuesday, May 27th thru Friday, June 27th, 2008, with awards being announced later this year.

?All too often we read of funding shortfalls in city and town budgets which threaten the emergency services in the community. The SAFER grant program provides additional options to municipalities to ensure staffing at local fire departments is not jeopardized,? said LoBiondo. ?Local communities such as Port Elizabeth and Pleasantville have benefited from the SAFER program in recent years. I strongly encourage the fire departments across South Jersey to take advantage of this critical funding source.?

Similar to the popular Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) which grants federal funding in one-year grants directly to fire departments to support the nation’s firefighters, the SAFER program will award approximately $190 million in competitive grants to local fire departments specifically for the recruitment and retention of volunteer and professional firefighters. Applications can be found at www.firegrantsupport.com.

The Department of Homeland Security?s Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) administers both programs in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. For the last six years, Congressman LoBiondo?s office has hosted local seminars for area fire departments to highlight the benefits of these grant programs. Additionally, the Congressman?s office sponsored an emergency preparedness seminar for the 2nd District. The seminar was hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last week in Ocean City with participation from approximately 80 emergency management personnel, elected officials and first responders from across South Jersey.

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