Fire dept. wins $1.24 million federal grant

PINOLE, Calif.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded the department a $1.24 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant.

The funding should help cover some of the department's most critical needs, including maintaining 24-hour staffing, increasing its roster of frontline firefighters and hiring and rehiring firefighters who were laid off due to budget cuts, according to a statement from the office of Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

"This grant is a vital boost to our local fire department which plays such an important safety role in our community," Miller said in a statement. "First responders all over California have been hit especially hard by the recent economic turndown and I'm glad to see the federal government stepping in with critical financial resources to help carry out the vital mission of our local firefighters."

The grant is also meant to support the recruitment and retention of volunteers to increase the number of trained, certified, competent firefighters in the event of an emergency.

The SAFER program provides about $320 million in grants to fire departments statewide, according to Miller's office.

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