PATERSON – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded new federal FIRE Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) to the Moonachie Fire Department in the amount of $279,604 and to the Clifton Fire Department in the amount of $348,300. The federal funds will assist Moonachie with the purchase of 32 self-contained breathing apparatus units, a source capture exhaust system and a new compressor fill station that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. A separate grant will assist the Clifton Fire Department with the purchase of turnout gear for 129 firefighters including protective pants, coats and boots.
“Our brave first responders put their lives on the line protecting our communities, so it’s our duty to ensure they have every possible resource at their disposal,” stated Rep. Pascrell, who introduced the Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act in March 1999. “This grant will provide our first responders with the necessary resources they need to keep themselves and their communities safe. The FIRE Act was written here in the Ninth Congressional District with the purpose of helping communities like Moonachie and Clifton support their first responders, and I’ll committed to fighting for this program so we can continue to bolster public safety across our nation.”
Today’s announcement marks the fifth AFG grant for the City of Clifton in the last 10 fiscal years for a total of $1,010,421 and is Moonachie’s first ever AFG grant.
"Congressman Pascrell has been a steady presence in Moonachie assisting with Hurricane Sandy recovery, and this federal grant underscores his continued commitment to our community,” said Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro. “This grant couldn’t come at a better time following Sandy’s destruction, and I applaud Congressman Pascrell’s efforts in delivering these vital resources not only to Moonachie but to fire departments across our country.”
“This federal grant is welcome news to the City of Clifton, especially in the most difficult economic times since 1929,” said Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi. “Congressman Pascrell has been a great friend to the City of Clifton and we appreciate his efforts in securing this funding.”
The AFG program makes direct grants to fire departments to purchase equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, and other firefighting and fire prevention activities. It also funds Fire Prevention and Safety Grants which are used for fire awareness and prevention activities, as well as fire safety related research. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) program makes grants to local fire departments to assist in the hiring of firefighters.
Rep. Pascrell saw the FIRE Act signed into law by President Clinton in 2000. Since the FIRE Act and SAFER were initially authorized, in FY2001 and 2005, respectively, they have provided more than $8 billion in grants to local fire departments to purchase equipment and hire approximately 18,500 firefighters.
From FY2001-FY2010 New Jersey received nearly $200 million in SAFER grants to hire approximately 740 firefighters.