During a press conference at the Fort Worth Fire Department Training Academy, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf announced changes to the FY2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program that would allow more firefighting organizations to take advantage of the grants.

“Firefighting organizations represent our hometown heroes, risking their lives to keep our communities safe,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “While bravely answering the call during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these departments are seeing increased personnel costs. Through our decisive actions on SAFER Grants, DHS is continuing its commitment to support our local partners during this difficult time and making sure they have the resources they need to carry out their critical missions.”

FY2019 SAFER Grants will no longer be subject to certain cost share, salary cap, supplanting, and minimum budget restrictions. Further, Acting Secretary Wolf announced that economically impacted fire departments can apply for and receive SAFER funding for FY2019 through May 27th. These changes will be extended into FY2020.

The SAFER Grant program is a critical partnership between DHS, FEMA, and local fire organizations that is crucial in helping fire departments in recruitment and retention. Firefighters and EMTs have been indispensable in the fight against COVID-19 and have been part of the backbone of local responses to the pandemic.