Worcester to hire 60 firefighters, buy gear with $15M FEMA funds

A SAFER grant will cover the new crewmembers' salaries for three years


Tom Matthews
masslive.com

WORCESTER, Mass. — The Worcester Fire Department was awarded almost $15 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire 60 new firefighters over the next three years and purchase new gear, officials said.

FEMA awarded the department a SAFER grant in the amount of $14.1 million, which is for the salaries of 60 new firefighters over the next three years.

In June 2022, the Worcester City Council approved an increase in the fire department’s budget to increase the staffing level of the department from 409 members to 452 members.
In June 2022, the Worcester City Council approved an increase in the fire department’s budget to increase the staffing level of the department from 409 members to 452 members. (File photo/Melissa Hanson/Tribune News Services)

FEMA also awarded the department the Assistance to Firefighters grant of $806,000 to increase the department’s inventory of self-contained breathing apparatuses, personal radios and turnout gear for new recruits.

“This funding from FEMA will assist our department in accomplishing its mission to protect the lives and property of the community by increasing daily staffing for a safer and more effective fire and emergency response,” said Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer. “We have a growing community, and that requires increased resources to ensure we have the personnel and equipment needed.”

In June 2022, the Worcester City Council approved an increase in the fire department’s budget to increase the staffing level of the department from 409 members to 452 members. The next two classes will bring the department to approximately 435 members, officials said.

“This funding will help us move toward our strategic plan goals of investing in the Fire Department by adding more firefighters and new equipment to keep our growing community safe,” said Acting City Manager Eric Batista. “We’re building on the foundation of excellence established by the WFD, and I’m looking forward to swearing in the new recruits in the near future.”

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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