The Squankum Fire Department will receive $450,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) thanks to a grant which will help provide members for a two-year period.
According to a press release from Sen. Frank Lautenberg's office, the money is coming as part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program. "New Jersey's first responders risk their lives to keep our communities safe, and this federal funding will help ensure that Howell Fire District No. 1 is adequately staffed and even better prepared for emergency situations," Lautenberg stated in the release.
Lautenberg, who serves as the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security said the grant plays an important role in assisting local first responders. "Protecting New Jersey communities is our first priority and we will continue working to provide federal resources for local departments."
Fire Commissioner Thomas Matthews said the money will be used to hire a full and part time firemen for two years. "The purpose is to supplement the volunteer response so apparatus will respond quicker to calls," he said.
The Squankum house covers a wide area including parts of the township on the borders with Farmingdale and Wall.
The SAFER program is designed to help fire departments and volunteer organizations to ensure they are prepared for emergency situations, according to the press release. Its goal is to help increase membership numbers for trained "front line," firefighters in their community.