Jersey City to receive $6.9 million to hire or retain 49 firefighters
Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Albio Sires announced the awarding of a $6.9 million grant to the Jersey City Fire Department to retain or hire 49 firefighters at a firehouse press conference with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop Friday afternoon.
“This is really a terrific day for Jersey City,” said Fulop of the receipt of the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant at the event at fire headquarters on Marin Boulevard.
The mayor thanked Sires and Menendez saying the city was privileged to be represented by officials who have experience on the municipal level and understand the needs of the city.
The SAFER funds will be used to fire 25 new firefighters and to replace or retain 24 firefighters who retired or whose position were slated for elimination due to budget cuts, officials said, adding that Jersey City received one of the largest grants.
“Not only will this funding create jobs and help protect our communities, it will also maintain safe working condition for our firefighters, who deserve nothing less than our best efforts to ensure they can perform their duties as safely and effectively as possible,” Menendez said.
Pointing at a firetruck behind the podium, Menendez said “If we don’t have the right complement of firefighters, all the equipment in the world won’t save lives and property.
Sires said “After 11 years as a mayor (of West New York), I realize how important grants are in keeping our community safe...The mayor is absolutely right, people in Washington do not realize, those who have never put a municipal budget or a state budget together, when you cut there, it hurts down here.”
The 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. Officials said the city will receive the money within 90 days.
“This is about delivering as well on the promise we made after Sept. 11 which for some people is a distant memory, but for me, it is always on my mind,” Menendez noted, saying it was not federal authorities who were the first responders, but “local police, firefighters and emergency management that risked their lives and saved lives and some lost their lives.”
Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea also spoke at the event.