In Personal Call, Casey Urges FEMA Administrator Fugate to Award SAFER Grant to Scranton

3 of 7 City Engine Companies Are Now Closed Remaining Fire Houses Are Experiencing Brown outs

Federal Funds Could Allow City to Rehire 32 Firefighters to Keep Residents Safe

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced today that he has personally called FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to urge that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) award the city of Scranton a grant that could allow laid off firefighters to get back on the job.

The call follows Senator Casey’s March 26th letter to FEMA requesting the grant.  The two had a good conversation in which Senator Casey underscored the importance of the grants to help Scranton rehire firefighters and keep residents safe.

“These engine companies are charged with keeping Scranton residents safe,” said Senator Casey. “This grant will ensure they have the capacity and manpower to do just that.”

The City of Scranton applied for a SAFER grant on February 24th and is expecting a decision soon.  Receiving the grant could allow the city to put laid off firefighters back on the job.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards.

The full text of Senator Casey’s March letter to FEMA Administrator Fugate can be seen below:

Mr. W. Craig Fugate

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Associations

500 C Street, S.W.

Washington, DC 20472

Dear Mr. Fugate:

It is my understanding that the City of Scranton has applied for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) grant. I strongly support this application and urge you to give full and fair consideration to this proposal.

If awarded, the City of Scranton would use this grant to rehire thirty-two firefighters as well as fill eighteen positions which have been reduced through attrition. Due to the economic downturn, thirty-two firefighters have been laid off, three of seven engine companies are now closed and remaining companies are experiencing “brown outs.”  These cuts have increased response times, which is especially concerning in an area with older infrastructure.  This grant would play a central role in improving public safety in the city and I urge you to give this application all due consideration. 

Thank you in advance for the consideration of my views.  Please include this letter in the official record of the application.  Consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, I also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this grant application.  Finally, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff at (570) 941-0930.

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