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Israel, King, & Zeldin Announce $1.2 Million Grant to Reinstate SERVES Program to Recruit 1,900 New Firefighters

August 31, 2015
Press Release
Suffolk County Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services to Receive SAFER Grant

Yaphank, NY — Congressmen Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Peter King (R-Seaford), and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced a federal grant of $1,299,065 for the Suffolk County Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services as part of the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This funding will be used to reinstate the Suffolk Educational Program for Retention in the Volunteer Emergency Services (SERVES), which was discontinued last year due to lack of funding. 
 
The SERVES program will recruit first responders by providing each fire department with the tools to conduct advertising and public relations campaigns, concentrating on recruiting minorities and women. With this federal funding, Suffolk County plans to place an additional 1,900 recruits over the next four year. 
 
Rep. Israel said, “Our first responders put their lives on the line every day to protect our homes, businesses and schools, and save lives. This federal funding will help reinstate the important SERVES program which aims to recruit 1,900 firefighters in Suffolk County with a focus on increasing enrollment by minorities and women.”

Rep. Peter King, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, said, “I understand how critical this funding is for Suffolk County. These funds will ensure that over the next four years Suffolk County Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services can recruit 1,900 firefighters to keep us safe and protect Suffolk County."

“I am proud to join with Reps. Israel and King to announce the award of SAFER grants for Suffolk County, which will provide critical funding for fire departments and emergency first responders on Long Island to keep these brave men and women safe,” said Rep. Zeldin. “We must continue to support our firefighters and EMS, who put the needs of our community before their own. It is also critically important to ensure they have access to the resources needed to recruit and retain new members.”

“Suffolk County continues to be proactive in ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents, and providing our volunteer firefighters with the necessary resources in order to do their jobs effectively is one of the ways to achieve this goal,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.  “Through the SAFER program, we will be able to enhance recruitment services and continue to attract the best and brightest men and women who want to serve our communities – which will help to decrease overall response times.”

This grant was awarded as part of the FY2014 SAFER grant program, which will award approximately $340 million to fire departments nationwide. Awarded directly to fire departments, the SAFER grant helps increase the number of firefighters, and recruit and retain volunteer firefighters. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need.  More information on the SAFER Grant Program can be accessed at https://www.fema.gov/.