United States Senators Cory Booker (D) and Robert Menendez (D) have announced that the South Orange Fire Department will receive $339,600 under the FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. The Fire Department will use the grant to hire two additional firefighters. According to a press release from the office of Senator Menendez, "The highly competitive SAFER grant program provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained “front line” firefighters in their communities."
The SOFD and a fire company in Pemberton, Burlington County both received grants under the program. Senator Booker said that "the funding...will help keep people in South Orange and Pemberton, New Jersey safe, putting new firefighters on the ground and helping to recruit the staff necessary to protect our communities...I am grateful for FEMA’s continued support." Senator Menendez said "this federal funding will put the necessary firefighters on the job to ensure effective responses to local emergencies in these communities".
Senator Menendez, along with Congressman Donald Payne and South Orange Village President Alex Torpey, visited the South Orange Fire Department on Wednesday to announce the grant.