Today DHS released Round 9 of the FY09 SAFER grants providing an additional $3.6 million to fire departments across the country. The SAFER grants are assisting fire departments who have faced layoffs and vacant positions left unfilled as the result of current economic conditions. Among the awardees is IAFF Local 729 in Binghamton, NY. The IAFF has been working closely with Local 729 since late 2009 to secure grant funds for eight laid-off positions. The grant will be welcome news to Local 729 and the fire chief who worked closely with the local to develop a competitive application that expressed the pressing need to bring these eight firefighters back on the job. Also receiving a grant this round is Bellingham, WA Local 106 that will return four laid-off firefighters to work.

I am often asked by our affiliates what they can do to ensure that they receive the grant funds they apply for. I advise them whenever possible that the need itself is not enough. You also have to be able to convey that need to a panel of your fire service peers through a well-written, well organized application. IAFF locals facing layoffs or reduced staffing, as well as those looking to expand their departments, should consider applying for the FY10 SAFER grants, which will provide $420 million dollars to fund fire department staffing. We anticipate the application period will open sometime in July and the International is available to assist throughout the application process. Please contact the Grants Administration Department at [email protected] for more information.