On Friday, August 27, 2021, the Town of Danvers received notification that the Danvers Fire Department had been awarded roughly $1.0 million in FY 2020 SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) Grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The SAFER Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association.
The total grant award is $996,627, which will fund three frontline firefighter positions for three years, bringing the department to a staffing level of 48. After the expiration of the grant, the Town will absorb the new personnel costs in the operating budget. These positions will allow the department to better maintain minimum staffing on each of its four groups and enable the Town to begin thinking long-term about how to staff the Fire Prevention Office at a level commensurate with the complexity and expectations of the Danvers community.
Chief Amerault was extremely pleased with the award, saying: “I am very happy to bring the department’s staffing level up to 48 members, this will not only allow us to meet the NFPA Standard, but it will decrease the burden on our current officers and firefighters who must work extra shifts to keep us afloat and should result in a decrease in overtime costs”. Chief Amerault also thanked FEMA and Deputy Fire Chief Brian Barry, who assisted in the application process.
The Danvers Fire Department was selected from thousands of applications to be one of only 20 SAFER Grant recipients. “Competition for funding in this program was fierce, and I am proud of the Fire Department’s work to obtain this grant,” said Town Manager Steve Bartha. “This award will enhance the safety of our community and our fire-fighters quality of life, while at the same time helping us to better manage overtime, injuries, and mental health.”