SAFER Grant Brings New Fire Fighters to Londonderry

During the Public Comment section of the Town Council meeting on Monday night, Sept. 10, Londonderry Fire Chief Darren O’Brien shared some good news with the council.

O’Brien told members the Fire Department applied for and has now received word that they will be getting over $750,000 through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant.

O’Brien wanted to take the opportunity to thank those members of the department that worked on acquiring the funds. He thanked the Author of the grant, Lt. Don Waldron, Battalion Chief James Roger, Lt. Bruce Hallowell and Battalion Chief of Operations, Michael McQuillen.

“These folks spent a lot of time during the research and putting this together, so I’d just like to recognize them.” O’Brien said.

He also mentioned that this is the first time Londonderry has ever received a SAFER Grant.

He explained the way the grant worked by saying “We were awarded that money, and for the first three years it’s 25 percent that is the towns portion on the first year, 25 percent on the second year, 65 percent on the third year and on the fourth year we take over 100 percent of the salaries.”

O’Brien will return on Sept. 17 to look for the acceptance of the grant by the Town Council.

On Friday, Sept. 7, the Fire Department was visited by new Hampshire’s U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen where she shared the good news about the SAFER grant with members of the department.

Shaheen noted that this was the largest amount given this year.

Shaheen wrote a letter to FEMA officials in June in support of Londonderry’s bid for the SAFER grant.

With the funds received from the grant the department will be able to hire four new full-time firefighters.

The department currently has two 10-man shifts and two 11-man shifts. The additional firefighters will see the department having continuous 12-man shifts, according to Fire Chief Darren O’Brien.

Other grants that were recently awarded to the Londonderry Fire Department were the Emergency Management Performance Grant for $12,601. They will be upgrading the Emergency Management Trailer with additional equipment for storm related events.

In July they got an EMS Warm Zone Grant for $6,000 for active shooter responses, and to re-equip the department’s apparatus with ballistic equipment.

Additionally: there are two grants pending, an Assistants to Fire Fighter grant for $60,671 for two new gear extractors and dryers and a Fire Prevention Safety Grant for $21,000. The hope is that that grant will be used for an electronic fire simulator, for use in educating the public.

Another future Emergency Management Performance Grant being sought will be for $200,000 once the new station is underway for the Emergency Operations Center.

During the end of his presentation to the Town Council, O”Brien thanked the staff and the Town Council for their support in acquiring these grants.

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