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DHS Awards 3rd Round of FY '06 SAFER Grants

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced the third round of the FY 2006 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants, awarding seven grants totaling nearly $9.4 million to fire departments and districts throughout the United States.

Each of the seven grants was for an amount greater than $1 million. The largest grant of the round, $1,863,000, will go to the City of Killeen (Texas) Fire Department. For a list of all grant recipients and amounts, go to the SAFER Grant Web site.

The purpose of the SAFER grants is to award grants directly to volunteer, combination and career fire departments to help the departments increase their cadre of firefighters. Ultimately, the goal is for SAFER grantees to enhance their ability to attain 24-hour staffing, ensuring their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. The SAFER grants have two activities that will help grantees attain this goal:

  1. Hiring of firefighters and
  2. Recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

The Hiring of Firefighters Activity involves a five-year grant to help fire departments pay a portion of the salaries of newly hired firefighters. These newly hired positions must be in addition to authorized and funded active firefighter positions. Volunteer, combination and non-profit career fire departments are all eligible to apply for assistance in hiring new firefighters. The grants require the awardee to match an increasing proportion of the salary over a four-year period; in the fifth year of the grant, the awardee must absorb the entire cost of any positions awarded as a result of the grant.

The Recruitment and Retention of Volunteer Firefighters Activity provides assistance to awardees for periods of up to four years. The purpose of these grants is to assist with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Volunteer departments, combination departments, and local or statewide organizations that represent the interests of volunteer firefighters are eligible to apply for assistance under this activity.

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