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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FEMA awards Detroit Fire Dept. $22.5 million SAFER grant

Largest FEMA SAFER program grant in history

Detroit Fire Department
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the city of Detroit $22.5 million. 
  • This is the largest grant in the history of FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program.
  • The funds will be used to cover the compensation (salaries and benefits) for two years for 108 Detroit firefighters who would’ve been laid off due to budget constraints.

AUSTIN: THANKS TO TIMELY GRANTS, DETROIT’S FIRE DEPARTMENT IS READY TO SERVE

Donald R. Austin Detroit Executive fire commissioner 
BY DONALD R. AUSTIN

The men and women of the Detroit Fire Department would like to thank filmmakers Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez for their new film “Burn,” their moving look at the heroism and “right stuff” displayed around the clock by our department.
They also cast an unflinching light on many of the conditions under which our firefighters work and the many challenges they face servicing one of the nation’s physically largest cities at nearly 140 square miles.
Mayor Dave Bing has made public safety his top priority and remains committed to keeping the city safe. He has worked closely with this department to address the needs in servicing those who live, work and entertain in the city of Detroit. In these weeks leading up to Angels’ Night, the city and this department encourage Detroiters to join us in moving our city forward.
Those of us in leadership positions do understand the urgency of the situation. We are working with aging physical plant and equipment, an imperiled budget and city finances, and a complex, challenging urban environment, for both firefighters and our EMS services.
Our 37 fire stations have an average age of more than 80 years. Our budget simply hasn’t allowed for adequate remodeling or relocation of these structures, or the repair or replacement of fire engines, ladder trucks or ambulances. We are plagued continually by fires in the city’s more than 39,000 dangerous structures, many of which catch fire again and again. Of the nearly 7,000 total fires we fight each year, more than half are at vacant dwellings, which put firefighters’ lives at risk as we try to make sure no squatters are inside when we respond.
Help is on the way. Despite these challenges, our response times are excellent, and we continue to make progress in prevention programs, which include home and business fire prevention inspections, free home smoke alarm programs and our Halloween-period efforts.
As “Burn” clearly demonstrated, our firefighting skills and bravery on the line are second to none.
This department is committed to finding ways to use our existing budget more effectively, while forging new relationships with and drawing support from citizens, the philanthropic community and government grant programs.
Working with the Detroit Public Safety Foundation funded grant writers and department staff, this June, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the city of Detroit $22.5 million. This is the largest grant in the history of FEMA’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program.
The funds will be used to cover the compensation (salaries and benefits) for two years for 108 Detroit firefighters who would’ve been laid off due to budget constraints. This most welcome award represents almost 14 percent of our department’s annual budget.
In recent days, FEMA awarded a second SAFER grant to Detroit in the amount of $5.6 million. The funds will be used to cover the compensation for two years for 26 more Detroit firefighters who had been laid off due to budget constraints.
We ask citizens and businesses to continue to get involved in making Detroit a safer and more attractive city. More information can be found at the Detroit Public Safety Foundation’s website (www.detroitpublicsafetyfoundation.org), including a list of needed items. I know that this department and this city have the resolve to put out any fire of self-doubt about our future.

Source: From The Detroit News - http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121025/OPINION01/210250329#ixzz2AJxTUxCj


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