CRANSTON, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative James Langevin today joined with Mayor Allan Fung to announce $3.45 million in federal funding to help Cranston hire and train 20 new firefighters. This direct federal assistance, provided through the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, will help the Cranston Fire Department increase staffing of frontline firefighters.
Cranston may use the federal SAFER grant to fund 17 frontline firefighter positions, as well as three additional positions. The firefighters who are hired are expected to be assigned as first responders in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services divisions throughout Cranston’s six fire stations, which respond to over 13,000 emergency calls each year.
“Our firefighters do a great job and this federal staffing grant will help preserve jobs and improve service to the community. At a time of tough local budget decisions, this grant will help Cranston maintain appropriate staffing levels needed to protect the city,” said Reed, who recently succeeded in including language in the National Defense Authorization to reauthorize and improve the SAFER grant program.
“Rhode Island firefighters work tirelessly every day, often risking their own lives to keep our families safe,” said Whitehouse. “At a time when public safety agencies across the state are facing tough budgetary constraints, this grant will allow the Cranston fire department to create more of these crucial firefighting jobs to ensure the safety of Cranston residents. I congratulate Mayor Fung and his hardworking City Council on their success.”
“There has been a robust debate going on in Washington about the role of government, but ensuring our communities have enough first responders is one thing on which we should all be able to agree,” said Langevin. “I am pleased that this grant will support 20 positions at the fire department to help keep the residents of Cranston safe, and we must continue to provide support to the SAFER program.”
“I want to thank Senators Reed and Whitehouse as well as Congressman Langevin for their continued commitment to making Cranston a safer community through this significant federal grant. This grant will allow us to strengthen our fire department by bolstering its ranks in difficult economic times. We are certainly appreciative of their efforts on our behalf,” said Fung.
In addition to responding to local emergencies, the new firefighters will be part of a Regional Hazardous Material Response team, a regional heavy rescue team, and a regional marine response team covering the Port of Providence and Narragansett Bay.
Earlier this year, the Cranston Fire Department received nearly $80,000 in federal funding to help make infrastructure upgrades, including fire alarm systems.
SAFER funding is a competitive grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.