Cortland Fire Department to apply for FEMA assistance grants (Audio Included)

(Photo via the City of Cortland Fire Department).

The City of Cortland Fire Department is applying for two FEMA assistance grants that could benefit the department in the long run. The Cortland Common Council unanimously approved authorization for the department to apply for these grants.

The first grant, which is through the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, will help to replace the city fire department’s existing fire extinguisher prop that is 15 years old and “no longer works properly,” according to the fourth agenda item from Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

The FEMA fire prevention and safety grant, if awarded, would be $21,682, including a 5% local match. If the city fire department wins the grant, it would be used for the department’s regularly-scheduled fire extinguisher training.

The second grant is through the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which assists in hiring career firefighters and the recruitment/retention of volunteer firefighters, as noted from the fifth agenda item at Tuesday’s meeting.

The SAFER hiring grant provides funding that spans across three years, including full coverage and cost of salary and fringe benefits.

If awarded, the city department would receive $641,005.28 for two career firefighters. According to the resolution, the SAFER hiring grant “does not stipulate” that firefighter positions must continue beyond the three-year performance period of the grant.

Cortland fire chief Wayne Friedman broke down his department’s current staff situation and the benefit of having the SAFER hiring grant in place.