PATERSON – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded a new federal FIRE Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to the Paterson Fire Department in the amount of $177,868. The grant will help the fire department obtain a driving simulator to train firefighters how to safely operate fire engines and ambulances through the streets of Paterson.
“Ensuring the safety of Paterson residents against the dangers of fire starts with providing the community’s firefighters with the equipment they need. That’s what the FIRE grants are all about,” stated Pascrell, who introduced the Pascrell’s Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act in March 1999. “This grant will ensure that these brave professionals have every advantage available to keep the risk of loss of life and property damage at an absolute minimum. The FIRE Act was written here in Northern New Jersey with the purpose of helping communities support their first responders and bolster public safety.”
Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino, who leads a department of 330 professional firefighters, said the grant was especially appreciated during the tough economic times that have put constraints on municipal budgets.
“This is a much needed grant; we’re not in a position to afford this on our own in the current financial state the city is in," Postorino said of the new equipment as he thanked Rep. Pascrell. "This grant will allow us to purchase a driving simulator that will train firefighters to safely operate both fire engines and ambulances through the streets of Paterson."
This is the seventh AFG grant to be awarded to the Paterson Fire Department, making a total of more than $1.4 million awarded to the department since 2001. Rep. Pascrell also secured a massive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant of $6.4 million in 2005 that allowed the department to hire 53 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 hire approximately 18,500 firefighters. From FY2001-FY2010 New Jersey received nearly $200 million in grants to hire approximately 740 firefighters.