WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four months after the Linden Fire Department faced layoffs of its firefighters due to budgetary constraints, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) came to the department’s headquarters Friday to announce a federal grant award of $2,406,684 to save 12 jobs in the department. The funding is awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs.
“Keeping firefighters on the job is critical to protecting the Linden community, and I am very pleased that this federal funding is coming directly to the Linden Fire Department during a difficult budgetary year,” said Menendez. “This not only helps the communities they serve, but it also helps maintain safer working conditions for our firefighters, who deserve nothing less than our best efforts to help them work as safely and effectively as possible.”
“I’m extremely excited about this SAFER grant that will help us keep 12 firefighters. It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka. “Quite frankly, it’s a Godsend. I want to thank Senator Menendez for his aggressiveness in getting this grant for the City of Linden.”
“This federal grant is a tremendous help to our department in keeping firefighters on duty to serve the residents of our community,” said Linden Fire Chief Joseph Rizzo. “Senator Menendez has always been there to help our fire department, and I thank him for his helping us obtain this funding that means so much in keeping our residents safe.”
“The City of Linden’s firefighters have struggled to maintain proper staffing,” said William Lavin, President of the New Jersey Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association. “Senator Menendez’s efforts here will go a long way, not only to keep Linden firefighters and residents safe, but also in the surrounding areas and we are eternally grateful for his efforts.”
“The firefighters of the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association are ready to respond to anything that happens in the communities we serve, and we greatly appreciate it when federal resources help communities like Linden keep firefighters working,” said Firefighter Christopher Lukenda, Secretary of the New Jersey Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association.
The highly competitive SAFER grant program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained “front line” firefighters in their communities.
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