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New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District Includes parts of Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth & Ocean Counties FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 14, 2011 Contact: Jeff Sagnip (609) 585-7878 http://chrissmith.house.gov Trenton Firefighters Facing Layoffs Get 2-year Reprieve with FEMA Grant Smith: 61 firefighters expected to avoid lay-offs in 2011 WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 60 firefighters facing pending lay-offs will be funded through a federal grant expected to be formally announced within days to ass
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    New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District Includes parts of Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth & Ocean Counties  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeff Sagnip (609) 585-7878Jan. 14, 2011http://chrissmith.house.gov  Trenton Firefighters Facing Layoffs Get2-year Reprieve with FEMA Grant Smith: 61 firefighters expected to avoid lay-offs in 2011 WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  More than 60 firefighters facing pending lay-offs will be fundedthrough a federal grant expected to be formally announced within days to assist the capitol of New Jersey ’s fire department, Congressman Chris Smith announced today. “ This federal grant will help Trenton firefighters have the staffing they need toprotect the city residents and the State Capital , ” said Smith, a long-time member of theCongressional Fire Services Caucus . “ I was pleased to work with firefighters who had appliedfor this grant, especially Fire Chief John Gribbin, as well as Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, tohelp Trenton during these difficult times. I am most happy for the residents of Trenton whowill be safer because of this grant and the firefighters and their families who can tear up the pink slips they’ve received . ”   The funding, which Smith ’ s office said is all but certain, amounts to $13,685,436,and comes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response(SAFER). It is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. Smith received word of the funding thismorning. “ This is an incredible close to a very difficult process for our FireDepartment and the City of Trenton. I am grateful for Congressman Smith and his staff who tirelessly presented Trenton’s need as a priority to Washington officials. In addition, Acting Director Carmichael, Chief Gribbin and all staff were aninstrumental part of the application process. This award would be impossiblewithout Chief Gribbin’s dedication and determination to see it through ,” stated Mayor Mack.   Although official notice is expected next week, multiple federal sources haveinformed Smith the funds have been included in an upcoming round of grants. Aftermeeting with Special Operations Chief John Gribbin and other city firefighters inSeptember 2010, Smith sent a letter to FEMA arguing the city’s case, focusing on the budgetary woes the Garden State’s capital is facing and public safety. In December,Smith helped obtain a waiver for the City after it inadvertently became ineligible for thegrant when it postponed planned layoffs until after the New Year. Working withAssistant Administrator of FEMA Elizabeth Harmon and FEMA staff, Smith explained toa concerned Harmon that the loss of an expected 61 firefighters would be detrimental tofire service in the densely populated city. “ Trenton   firefighters put themselves at risk to protect others, and we owe itto them to do our best to protect them ,” said Smith.   “ This is a reprieve protects livesand offers a bridge for the City as it seeks a long-term solution .”   SAFER grants provide assistance to fire departments to increase the number of frontline firefighters. The goal is for fire departments to increase their staffing anddeployment capabilities and help provide communities with adequate protection from fire andfire-related hazards. The SAFER program supports several critical activities, such as therehiring of laid off firefighters, the retention of firefighters facing layoffs, the hiring of newfirefighters, and recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. Grants are used to paythe salaries and benefits of firefighters hired with grant funds over the two-year awardperformance period.###
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