City Gets US Grant For Fire Safety Code Inspections
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 • 5:36pm
PATERSON, NJ – The city’s fire department has been awared a $68,204 grant for software designed to help authorities track annual safety code inspections, according to an announcement issued Wednesday by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
The congressman’s press release said the funds are being provided under a new federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) through the department of Homeland Security.
“In Paterson, fire can break out in a single-family house, a high-rise apartment building or an industrial warehouse. Our firefighters must be ready for anything,” said Pascrell, in the press release. “This grant will ensure that these brave professionals have every advantage available to keep the risk of loss of life and property damage at an absolute minimum. The FIRE Act was written here in Northern New Jersey with the purpose of helping communities support their first responders and bolster public safety,” added Pascrell, who introduced the Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act in March 1999.
The press release included a statement by Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino, who leads a department of 330 professional firefighters. Postorino thanked Pascrell and said the grant was especially appreciated during the tough economic times that have put constraints on municipal budgets.
“This is a much needed grant; we’re not in a position to afford this on our own in the current financial state the city is in," Postorino said of the new equipment. "This grant will allow us to upgrade our annual code inspection system and keep better track of our fire prevention records."
This is the sixth AFG grant to be awarded to the Paterson Fire Department, making a total of more than $1.3 million awarded to the department since 2001, according to the press release.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the AFG program, which makes direct grants to fire departments to purchase equipment, training, firefighting vehicles, and other firefighting and fire prevention activities, the press release said. It also funds Fire Prevention and Safety Grants which are used for fire awareness and prevention activities, as well as fire safety related research.
The AFG program started with a $100 million appropriation in fiscal year 2001, according to Pascrell’s staff. With broad bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives reauthorized the AFG program for $1 billion from 2010 to 2014.