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Pascrell Announces $290,000 Federal Grant to Protect Paterson Firefighters

Procurement of federal funds comes mere days after Paterson firefighters battled tragic blaze at local rehab facility

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, announced the awarding of a $289,450 federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) to the Paterson Fire Department. Administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, the AFG program provides direct support to eligible fire departments to help them meet the demanding and ever-evolving nature of their work.

"The brave men and women of the Paterson Fire Department put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe,” said Rep. Pascrell, a longtime champion in Congress of state and federal services. “I stood with our first responders this weekend as we surveyed the horrific damage at the Straight and Narrow rehabilitation complex here in Paterson. While the destruction is unquestionably tragic, not a single life was lost thanks to the rapid response and execution by Paterson firefighters. But our fire professionals always need ample resources to do their duty, and this federal investment will continue to provide Paterson’s Bravest with the tools they need to be prepared for any emergency. As co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, I will continue to fight for each and every federal dollar for our first responders so that they can do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“Congressman Pascrell has always been an advocate for our firefighters and this award supports their hard work,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “Paterson firefighters have proven to be brave and selfless heroes as we have seen countless times and this funding for equipment will ensure Patersonians continue to benefit from this bravery. In fact, the work of our firefighters is on display weekly on the television series “Live Rescue,” and the Assistance to Firefighter Grant provides to them what they need to succeed.”

“Cancer prevention for firefighters is at the forefront of this grant award,” said Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott. “Putting source capture devices at the inception of carcinogen production, fire apparatus diesel exhaust pipes will ensure a more health friendly atmosphere in which to work and for the community to gather. It will also achieve compliance with laws and standards associated with reducing carbon emissions with fire stations. No longer will the walls be covered in diesel dust putting firefighters at further risk of reduced life span. I thank the Federal government in particular Congressman Bill Pascrell, for taking an interest in furthering firefighter and public safety and for the support of Mayor Sayegh and the entire Paterson Council.”

The AFG program provides financial support to fire departments to purchase equipment, training, emergency vehicles, and other firefighting and fire prevention activities. The funding is made possible under Rep. Pascrell’s Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, which was signed into law in 2000 by President Bill Clinton.

In 2018, Rep. Pascrell celebrated the signing into law of his Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), which established a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) first announced introduction of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in May 2016 during a news conference at Clifton Fire Station 5, where they were joined by dozens of firefighters, including retired Haddon Heights Fire Chief Gene Dannenfelster, who since lost his battle with cancer. H.R.931 was introduced in the 115th Congress on February 17, 2017.

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