Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association Receives SAFER Grant

Today, the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) announced they have received a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant award from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for $790,000. Only the second grant of its kind, it will assist the CFCA to develop a model to enhance the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters across the entire State of Connecticut. This grant is scheduled to start in September 2011, and run for a year.

With nearly 80% of the state’s firefighters being volunteers, recruitment and retention is a very important issue, making it critical to bolster the volunteer ranks to continue to protect the residents and visitors of Connecticut. Research and data collected by the CFCA has shown that staffing issues in volunteer fire departments is consistently the #1 issue facing fire departments in Connecticut.

“Over the last several years, it has been very tough for many fire departments throughout Connecticut to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons,” said Wethersfield Chief Charles Flynn Immediate Past President of the CFCA. “Most volunteer fire departments along with their communities, in order to provide the optimum level of protection for their residents, continue to seek ways to recruit volunteers and maintain their workforce." This grant study will work to identify and mitigate the recruitment and retention problems facing volunteer fire departments while assisting the departments and elected officials in effectively planning future emergency response systems.”

President of the CFCA Chief Kenneth W. Richards, Jr. of the Old Mystic Fire Department "thanked the Connecticut Congressional delegation for their continued support of the Fire Grants Act." He went further to express his gratitude for the assistance the CFCA received from the International Association of Fire Chiefs in preparation of this grant. In addition, he truly appreciates all of the time and effort put in to this process by the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association.  The effectiveness and success of the program will be evaluated by the CFCA and grant partners with the goal of providing a roadmap for further advancing the recruitment and sustainability of volunteer firefighters throughout Connecticut. For updates and additional information as it becomes available please visit  www.ctfirechiefs.com