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Shuster Congratulates Phoenix Fire Department on $5,000,000 Fire Grant

WashingtonCongressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce that Phoenix Steam Fire Engine Co. #1 has been awarded a Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) Program – Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), in the amount of $5,157,000. The funds will be used for the recruitment and retention of firefighters across four counties in Central Pennsylvania.

“This is outstanding news for the firefighters at the Phoenix Fire Department and the people of Central Pennsylvania,” Shuster said.  “This funding will span four counties and 32 fire departments, allowing them to offer great incentive packages to recruit new firefighters who risk their lives every day as volunteers to protect our communities.”

This fire prevention grant, secured with the support of Shuster, will be used to recruit 300 new firefighters over the next four years, and help to retain their current first responders. The Phoenix Fire Department of Hollidaysburg is the “host company” and will administer the $5,157,000 fire grant to 32 other fire departments in Blair, Bedford, Cambria, and Centre counties.

The money will be used to create a variety of comprehensive incentives to help the volunteer fire department build up their memberships. These incentives may include providing firefighters with health insurance, new training, equipment, counseling, gas reimbursement, and even childcare.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support shown by Congressman Bill Shuster. The volunteer fire service is in many ways the lifeblood that makes up the communities of the Ninth District. Volunteer firefighters are often the first persons to respond to any community emergency; fire, flood, vehicle accidents, hazardous material incidents. This grant will enhance these fire companies ability to attract new members and keep the already dedicated members on the rosters,” said Benjamin Rhine, President Phoenix Fire Department.

The goal of any SAFER grant is to enhance the ability?of grantees to attain and maintain 24-hour staffing?and to assure that their communities have adequate?protection from fire and fire-related hazards. The?objective of the program is to award grants directly?to volunteer, combination, and career fire departments to help the departments increase the number of frontline firefighters, and to rehire firefighters who were laid-off due to the economy.