WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The City of Worcester will use approximately $15 million in newly granted funds for the expansion of the Worcester Fire Department.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded Worcester with a Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant in the amount of $14.1 million, which will be used for the salaries of 60 new firefighters over the next three years.
FEMA also awarded an Assistance for Firefighters Grant of $806,000 to increase the inventory of self-contained breathing apparatuses, personal radios, and turnout gear for new recruits.
"This funding from FEMA will assist our department in accomplishing its mission to protect the lives and property of the community by increasing daily staffing for a safer and more effective fire and emergency response," said Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer. "We have a growing community, and that requires increased resources to ensure we have the personnel and equipment needed."
In June, the Worcester City Council approved a Fire Department budget to increase the staffing levels of the department from 409 members to 452 members. According to officials, the next two drill school classes will bring the department to approximately 435 members.
"I want to thank our federal delegation for their support in pushing this FEMA grant through and securing this vital funding for the Worcester Fire Department," said Worcester Mayor Joseph J. Petty. Without the help of Congressman McGovern, Senator Markey and Warren, and the hard work of their staff, we never would be able to have been able to push this grant through. This funding is a game-changer for any city but especially here in the City of Worcester where we’re trying to grow our fire department."