FEMA promises $14.1M for 60 new Worcester firefighters; another $800K to be used for equipment

A Worcester firefighter at the scene of a vehicle fire at Madison Place on Saturday.
A Worcester firefighter at the scene of a vehicle fire at Madison Place on Saturday.

WORCESTER — The Fire Department has been awarded nearly $15 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire 60 new firefighters and purchase new equipment.

"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,” Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer said in an announcement. “We have a growing community, and that requires increased resources to ensure we have the personnel and equipment needed."

The city received two grants.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response program awarded $14.1 million for the salaries of 60 new firefighters over the next three years.

A second grant of $806,000 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will increase the Fire Department’s inventory of self-contained breathing apparatuses, personal radios and turnout gear for new recruits.

In June, the City Council, with the endorsement of the city administration, approved a Fire Department budget to increase the staffing levels of the department from 409 members to 452 members.

The next two drill-school classes will bring the department to approximately 435 members.

Mayor Joseph M. Petty thanked the city’s Congressional delegation and called the funding “a game-changer.”

“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,” Petty said.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: FEMA promises $14.1M for 60 new firefighters at Worcester Fire Department