PHILADELPHIA PA (September 22, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)--The Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) has been awarded nearly $20 million in federal funds that will enable the department to hire 120 new firefighters; provide incident command training; and improve its shipboard firefighting and water rescue capabilities.
“This critical funding will allow the PFD to better protect the City of Philadelphia 24x7x365,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “These new positions, training, and equipment will allow us to respond more effectively, and safely, to all types of emergencies across our city.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded three competitive grants to the PFD:
- $16.6 million to hire 120 firefighters. This grant, which comes through a national program known as SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response), will over time restore companies taken out of service during the Recession.
- $2.7 million for incident command training. This money, which comes through a national program known as AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant), will help the PFD provide a comprehensive officer training program for the first time in years.
- $398,000 for shipboard firefighting training for about 240 members and the purchase of 8 new water rescue nets. This funding, which comes through the Port Security Grant Program, will help the PFD update and improve its response capabilities on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.
“It is crucial that the Philadelphia Fire Department has the resources it needs to ensure the safety of our city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I want to thank FEMA for providing this much-needed federal funding that allows us to build upon the recent local investments that we’ve made in the PFD.”
The PFD expects to begin hiring through the SAFER grant in early 2019. A previously scheduled firefighter cadet class begins Oct. 1 at the Fire Academy.
In Fiscal Year 2017, the PFD handled 314,722 emergency incidents and extinguished 2,573 structural fires – an average of seven per day, which is above the average for other major metropolitan fire departments.
FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.