Paterson, NJ- Residents and businesses in Paterson will be safer from fires and other emergencies if a bill introduced jointly by Congressman Bill Pascrell and several of his colleagues in the House of Representatives gets signed into law.
The AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization of 2017, which renews vital federal funding streams for local fire departments was introduced on September 29, according to a statement released by Pascrell’s office.
"Firefighters and first responders across our nation deserve all the support they need to keep our communities safe," said Representative Pascrell, an author of the original bill that created these grant programs. “Cities like my hometown of Paterson are losing money in their budgets and rely on federal assistance,” he added.
By reauthorizing the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, this legislation would, according the statement, ensure that over 30,000 fire departments across the US continue to have access to necessary training, equipment and staffing to conduct emergency response missions and to continue to reduce community risk.
Since 2001, the Paterson Fire Department has received $20,848,312 in SAFER Grant funding and $3,211,386 in AFG funding, which includes $716,088 last year. They have also received $770,966 in FP&S funding. These amounts, according to Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino, have “proven critical to Paterson's efforts to build and maintain the type of fully functioning fire department our residents deserve."
It’s not just the City of Paterson that benefits from this funding Postorino added. “Without AFG and SAFER the city of Paterson and the Fire Service in general would not be able to provide the necessary services and our city, state and country would be a lot less safe.”
Suggesting that “too often politicians talk about keeping our communities safe,” Eddie Donnelly, president of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, praised Pascrell for his continued efforts to keep communities safe from fire and other emergencies.
“Bill Pascrell takes action,” said Donnelly.
“The brave men and women of the Paterson Fire Department put their lives on the line every day, and they deserve all the help they can get. I'm proud to deliver for them,” concluded Pascrell.
Editor’s Note: In the interest of transparency, the publisher of TAPinto Paterson also serves as a spokesman for the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association