DALTON, Mass. — The town's volunteer fire department was granted almost a quarter-million dollars by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid staffing.
Through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), state and federal representatives announced the award of $225,642 through FEMA in a press release. According to a 2013 application form, Dalton is one of an expected 300 national award recipients through September, out of a projected 2,500 applicants.
"Our firefighters are out on the front lines protecting our communities," U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in the release. "This SAFER grant recognizes the critical work firefighters do day in and day out, and will help make sure the Dalton fire department has the resources it needs to continue keeping our families safe."
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal said the grant will allow the Dalton Fire Department to be appropriately staffed and trained. The town's volunteer department is currently comprised of up to 40 members, but does not exceed 45 on its roster, based on its Facebook page.
Dalton Fire Chief Gerry Cahalan could not be reached for comment.
SAFER grants provide funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.
A 2013 grant application form indicates that the program is designed to hire, recruit and retain firefighters for non-profit departments, including volunteer organizations. Nearly $321 million is earmarked for the Funding Opportunity Announcement, made by the federal Department of Homeland Security, Grant Programs Directorate and FEMA.
Under a list of grant priorities, the application indicates its most important as assisting departments experiencing a high turnover rate and with staffing levels below the ideal standards needed to comply with National Fire Protection Association.
The Dalton Fire Department has 48 months to utilize its new-found funds, according to the grant application.