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First Rounds of FY 2012 SAFER Grants Announced, More to Come

October 16, 2012 – Early rounds of FY 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awards have been announced.

The list includes big wins for IAFF affiliates, including Detroit, MI Local 344 ($5.6 million); Phoenix, AZ Local 493 ($5.3 million); City of Fort Myers Fire Department-represented by Southwest Florida Local 1826 ($3.9 million); St. Bernard Parish, LA Local 1468 ($3.5 million); Fulton County, GA Local 3920 ($3.2 million); Hamtramck, MI Local 750 ($3.1 million); Massillon, OH Local 251 ($1.7 million); Crawfordsville, IN Local 4143 ($989, 464); Westport, MA Local 1802 ($244, 483); and Bazetta, OH Local 3703 ($223,022).

“SAFER grants have become crucial, in some cases, to keeping enough fire fighters on the job and the public safe,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “It is encouraging to see some of our laid-off fire fighters back to work.”

In some cases, like in Detroit, the SAFER grant will help, but more needs to be done. The $5.6 million grant will help Local 344 hire back 30 fire fighters, including 26 who were laid-off August 10 and four who took positions elsewhere.

The City had announced plans to lay off 164 fire fighters this year, but the Detroit Fire Department received a $22.5 million grant in FY 2011, which prevented 108 layoffs.

Despite all of the grant assistance, Local 344 is still down a significant number of personnel due to 70 retirements since January. “We are glad to have our fire fighters back, but we need everyone to keep the public adequately safe,” says Local 344 President Dan McNamara.

In nearby Hamtramck, the $3.1 million grant will refill the 12 positions recently cut due to layoffs.

On October 1, 2012, nearly half of Hamtramck Local 750 members were laid off due to budget cuts. Eleven fire fighters received pink slips and one vacant position was eliminated. This left only 15 fire fighters to cover the City.

“This is a tremendous relief not only for the Local 750 membership, but also for the citizens we protect,” says Local 750 President William Diamond. “We can now maintain the same level of service our City needs and deserves.”

In other places, such as Fort Myers, Florida, the newly awarded grants will help cities avoid layoffs and maintain current staffing levels.

Southwest Florida Local 1826 represents Fort Myers fire fighters. “The $3.9 million pays for 24 fire fighter positions,” says Local 1826 President Walter Stevens. “Because of this grant, the possibility of layoffs has been stopped.”


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