The Paterson Fire Department will receive $639,576 in federal grant money to purchase turnout gears for 252 firefighters, announced congressman Bill Pascrell.
The grant issued by the Department of Homeland Security under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant will allow the department to purchase protective coats, pants, and helmets for firefighters.
“Ensuring the safety of Paterson residents against the dangers of fire starts with providing the community’s firefighters with the equipment they need,” Pascrell said. “This new equipment will ensure that our brave first responders have every advantage available to keep the risk of loss of life and property damage at an absolute minimum.”
Pascrell introduced the Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act in 1999 to ensure local fire departments have the resources to protect themselves and the communities they serve.
Fire chief Michael Postorino said he appreciates the grants at a time when the municipal purse strings have tightened and funds are scarce. “Without this grant we would struggle to obtain these vital resources for our department,” Postorino said.
Postorino runs a department of 330 professional firefighters which has received over $2 million in federal grants since 2001. The most recent award is the eighth grant the department has received.
Pascrell, senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, jointly announced the grant on Thursday afternoon. “We have a sacred obligation to our firefighters: they protect New Jersey, and we must protect them,” Booker said. “The personal protective equipment these federal grants provide will help keep Paterson’s bravest safe as they respond to emergencies.”
Menendez said he will continue his fight to preserve the current programs that fund numerous fire departments in New Jersey and the county.
“This federal funding is critical to helping ensure firefighters in Paterson are ready to respond to emergencies and save lives,” Menendez said. “We are obligated to do everything we can to make sure our firefighters have the training and equipment they need to work safely and effectively.”