Cranston FD Gets $3.45 Million to Hire New Firefighters

The grant was announced today by U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. James Langevin and Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung.

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative James Langevin today joined with Mayor Allan Fung to announce $3.45 million in federal funding to help Cranston hire and train 20 new firefighters.  This direct federal assistance, provided through the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, will help the Cranston Fire Department increase staffing of frontline firefighters.

Cranston may use the federal SAFER grant to fund 17 frontline firefighter positions, as well as three additional positions.  The firefighters who are hired are expected to be assigned as first responders in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services divisions throughout Cranston’s six fire stations, which respond to over 13,000 emergency calls each year.

“Our firefighters do a great job and this federal staffing grant will help preserve jobs and improve service to the community.  At a time of tough local budget decisions, this grant will help Cranston maintain appropriate staffing levels needed to protect the city,” said Reed, who recently succeeded in including language in the National Defense Authorization to reauthorize and improve the SAFER grant program. 

“Rhode Island firefighters work tirelessly every day, often risking their own lives to keep our families safe,” said Whitehouse. “At a time when public safety agencies across the state are facing tough budgetary constraints, this grant will allow the Cranston fire department to create more of these crucial firefighting jobs to ensure the safety of Cranston residents.  I congratulate Mayor Fung and his hardworking City Council on their success.”

“There has been a robust debate going on in Washington about the role of government, but ensuring our communities have enough first responders is one thing on which we should all be able to agree,” said Langevin.  “I am pleased that this grant will support 20 positions at the fire department to help keep the residents of Cranston safe, and we must continue to provide support to the SAFER program.”

“I want to thank Senators Reed and Whitehouse as well as Congressman Langevin for their continued commitment to making Cranston a safer community through this significant federal grant.  This grant will allow us to strengthen our fire department by bolstering its ranks in difficult economic times.  We are certainly appreciative of their efforts on our behalf,” said Fung.

In addition to responding to local emergencies, the new firefighters will be part of a Regional Hazardous Material Response team, a regional heavy rescue team, and a regional marine response team covering the Port of Providence and Narragansett Bay.

Earlier this year, the Cranston Fire Department received nearly $80,000 in federal funding to help make infrastructure upgrades, including fire alarm systems.

SAFER funding is a competitive grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

Joe Richer December 20, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Does this grant renew each year or is it a one-time grant? If it's one-time...there are some obvious concerns.
Bob December 21, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Useless in plain English......and Your right Joe, If it's a one time grant we are in trouble, this results in more Union pensions, benefits, COLAS, paid time off for Retirees, Uniform allowances for retirees...you get the picture
Joe Richer December 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
...I have other questions as a a citizen tax payer. Don't get me wrong, these are real questions, not rhetorical ones. 1) Do we need more fire fighters? I don't recall any studies or statistics indicating this. Perhaps they exist and I have not seen them? 2) Does it make economic sense for me to pay federal taxes just so a Washington beauracracy can then send that money back to Cranston (after taking the cost of that beauracracy out of my taxes)? I work 60-70 hours per week for what I earn. I am not sure any of this makes sense to anyone outside of government employ.
James Demers SR December 21, 2012 at 07:00 PM
RS December 21, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Bob...how do retirees get uniform allowances and paid time off????? COLAs???? The new hires are in the State pension system and the COLAs were stopped.....
Foxeyroxie15 December 23, 2012 at 04:46 AM
One thing of note which I'll cut & paste ... "In addition to responding to local emergencies, the new firefighters will be part of a Regional Hazardous Material Response team, a regional heavy rescue team, and a regional marine response team covering the Port of Providence and Narragansett Bay." These people will be part of a team which will be called for special duties as well and not neccesarily Cranston. So it isn't just "adding firefighters" for the sake of adding more personnel
Foxeyroxie15 December 23, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I get what you're saying, Joe. Reading the entire article, I have to say for a city with a population of approx. 80,000, I think 13,000 calls are a bit much. I live across from a mother/son team with definite mental issues!!! I know the son has problems (can't recall what) but mom is no better. He tries to work around the yard, she comes out screaming at him for no reason. Friday nites are a joy !! I can't begin to tell you how many times the fire & rescue show up - they're not young, aren't druggies/drinkers - just whackos. Friday nights they must fight - Mom gets ticked off and calls, the fire dept. comes out, looks around and leaves. No one gets in the rescue. He may be off his meds - I don't know but right there is tax money, right there is a case of dealing with these two when others may need help for legit reasons. The dept. can't refuse - it could be an emergency but I haven't seen one yet.
Foxeyroxie15 December 23, 2012 at 05:10 AM
I do have to laugh. Jack Reed is a Cranston 'boy'. Anytime Cranston needs help, he's there for his hometown. Think back to the flood, who got the money for Perkins Ave., for example??? Jack. I love how Whitehouse & Langevin weasel their way in. I doubt they even know where Cranston is ! What have either of them done for us or this district. Not much! I don't always agree with Reed but he doesn't forget where he came from and who he is supposed to represent. The other two can do their disappearing act - the election is over. We won't see them until the next election.
Foxeyroxie15 December 23, 2012 at 05:21 AM
It's the old retirees. One is 80 something in a nursing home and totally out of it. Gets his pension check which varies every month. He's getting COLA, PAID holidays, bennys and all the other things you mentioned. In my retired, pension world, I get the same amount every month and have never gotten COLA nor will I. I don't get "holiday" pay - retirement is considered a "holiday". I don't think this poor soul needs a uniform allowance - he's in pajamas 24/7, he's bedridden, can't do anything for himself. Yes, we'll all reach that age, go thru the same health issues - time is not kind. But those public sector unions sure are kind!! I picked the wrong line of work for a private sector union.......
Joe Richer December 23, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Hi Foxey, even if these firefighters are largely assigned to new duties. I would still like to see the data backing up the need for new duties, new buearacracies, etc...IE Do we NEED this. Since this is a grant, I can only assume that the city will be on the hook for their salaries and benefits in each future year. Just how will we pay for this? Is this a benefit to the taxpayer citizens of Cranston or just another debt?
MJones December 24, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Joe to answer your question there was a study done several years ago stating that the fire department and especially the police department where grossly understaffed. I know people state the population of Cranston is approx. 80,000 but I would estimate it to be around 100,000. Alot of the mutli family houses in edgewood and arlington are over populated with 5-10 people living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment. I know every one is on the anti union bandwagon but times have changed. Violent crime is up and it seems like everyone is always looking over their shoulders. Police Officers and Firemen put others lives and safety before their own , look at what happened in New York, a whacko set fire to his house and car and when the fire department showed up he began shooting at them killing 2. Now everyone wants a police officer in every school, thats not gonna happen, they are understaffed as it is. I am a firm supporter of police and fire because these are the people you call when YOU need help.
Joe Richer December 26, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Hi MJones, A couple of things... 1) I am not union bashing here at all. I am looking to try to ensure that the taxpayers of Cranston are not inheriting an on-going debt for ourselves and our children during a time of economic hardship. Also, this is a time when the population of RI is shrinking - and the taxpayer base is shrinking faster than any other segment (I admit this is presumption on my part). 2) Police figures and data have no place in this argument. 3) Are fire response times up or down (I don't know), by how much?, are fatalities due to response times changing? We should make decisions like this based on data. You are stating they are understaffed...I am NOT contending they are staffed adequately. I am simply stating that we should not increasae the size of our fire services without knowing it's needed through careful data analysis.
Foxeyroxie15 December 26, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Joe R. - All your points, concerns are certainly legit. Per Projo (last week?), detailed figures of pop. & median income decrease backs you up. I think there's a need but, like you, can we afford it? RI keeps holding out its hand for mo' money from the Feds while they can't resolve the budget. How long before Congress puts the clamps on RI, tells us to live within our means? Now the NRA wants officers posted at every school - who pays for this? A very tragic event but these nut jobs will attack wherever, whenever. Every state, this country itself, has spent itself into oblivion, has 'borrowed' from my SS, yours, & my son will never see it. We 'owe' China - why? Giveaway after giveaway, yr. after yr. Now we're in dire straits but we've been drained dry. We have needs, too but now their unaffordable. This grant isn't going to cover any pensions, etc. It's a "grant" & all "grants" end. We'll end up assuming the debt - count on it. We're in a very deep hole & it's getting deeper.
Foxeyroxie15 December 26, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I meant "they're" - Whoops!!


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