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HARTFORD FIRE DEPARTMENT TO RECEIVE $12 MILLION IN MULTI-YEAR FEDERAL GRANT FUNDING FOR STAFFING AND TECHNOLOGY

HARTFORD FIRE DEPARTMENT TO RECEIVE $12 MILLION IN MULTI-YEAR FEDERAL GRANT FUNDING FOR STAFFING AND TECHNOLOGY

HARTFORD, CONN (September 28, 2017) – This morning Mayor Luke Bronin joined Fire Chief Reginald Freeman and other City leaders at the Hartford Public Safety Complex to announce two federal grants the Hartford Fire Department (HFD) will receive.  The HFD will receive approximately $11 million in federal grant funding over three years to pay for personnel costs through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, and approximately $1 million this year to pay for radio upgrades through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.  

“I want to congratulate Chief Freeman, our outstanding fire department, and our grants department on the great work and strong partnership that helped secure this second largest SAFER grant in the country, as well as the vitally important grant to upgrade our radio system,” said Mayor Bronin.  “I also want to thank Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Congressman Larson for their strong support.  The men and women of the Hartford Fire Department serve our City with incredible dedication, skill and professionalism, and with a staffing shortfall, they’ve been working long hours and long weeks away from home.  With the help of these two grants, we can hire the recruits we need and also invest in the communications equipment that’s so important to the safety and effectiveness of our firefighters.  While this grant is spread out over three years and won’t have an immediate impact on our near-term fiscal gap, it will allow us to hire the additional firefighters necessary to reach our optimal staffing level and reduce overtime costs down the road.”

The City’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget included funding for approximately seventy new firefighters, to backfill significant attrition that the City has experienced and expects in the months ahead.  One class of thirty-six began training in July and another is expected to start this fall.  The SAFER grant will allow the City to hire a total of about 110 new firefighters over the course of the fiscal year ending in June of 2018.

The AFG grant will upgrade the existing radio system used by the Fire Department, improving communication between firefighters during emergencies.

“This major federal grant will put more firefighters on the job keeping Hartford safe,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.  “I thank Hartford firefighters for their brave, tireless service and will continue to advocate for federal grant programs that provide critical support for our fire departments.” 

“Firefighters are often the first ones on the scene of an emergency or when someone calls for help,” said Senator Chris Murphy.  “They deserve the best possible training and personnel, and this $11 million grant is crucial to helping keep Hartford residents safe.  I was proud to advocate for this grant and the Hartford Fire Department deserves every penny.”

“This is great news for the City of Hartford and its residents,” said Congressman John Larson.  “I would like to extend my congratulations to Chief Reginald Freeman and the Hartford Fire Department.  This grant, the second largest awarded in the country this year, will allow the fire department to increase its workforce by hiring dozens of new firefighters. The men and women of the Hartford Fire Department are hard-working individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the community. They deserve the peace of mind that comes with having an adequately staffed fire department. People who work and live in the city will be safer because of this grant and the outstanding job that the Hartford Fire Department does.”

“Our Hartford firefighters are tremendous public servants and I am very glad the City was able to secure this significant federal funding with the assistance of our outstanding federal delegation,” said City Council President Thomas “TJ” Clarke II, who is also a Co-Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.  “This is a reflection of the strong partnership across City departments and the strong commitment to public safety we have as a City Council in partnership with Chief Freeman and our Mayor.”

“Thank you to Chief Freeman, the City of Hartford’s grants and management teams, members of the Hartford Fire Department, and our federal delegation who have worked on securing these grant funds for the Hartford Fire Department,” said City Councilman James Sanchez, Co-Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.  “Their work has resulted in $12 million being awarded to the City of Hartford – that is to say $11 million through the SAFER Grant and $1 million from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.  These funds will enhance Hartford’s ability to recruit, hire, and retain firefighters and maintain its status as a Class 1 Fire Department.  These funds will also be used to provide quality equipment and training to our Hartford firefighters.  In short, these funds will improve the HFD’s ability to serve residents, the health and safety of our Fire personnel, and will increase Hartford’s resilience.”

"Our staffing levels have been low due to a large number of retirements, and we’ve long had issues with our radio system in parts of the City,” said Fire Chief Reginald Freeman.  “As a Department, these much-needed grants will allow us to prepare for the future knowing we’ll be properly staffed and equipped to continue providing our community with a high level of service.  I want to thank the Mayor, the City Council, the entire team that put the grant applications together, as well as our federal delegation.”

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