Special to the Journal
Mayor Brian M. Arrigo announced this week that the City has been awarded funding for four new firefighters through a $681,503 SAFER Grant by the U.S. Department Homeland Security. It is the third consecutive year that the City has earned a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant. The four new firefighters who will join the active fire department ranks early spring next year.
“This is not only welcome news, it is an important component of our overall plan for public safety,” said Mayor Brian M. Arrigo. “This has been a priority in our municipal budget every year. In the past four years we have added 12 new firefighters to the force. We’ve gone from 98 firefighters to 110 firefighters, and as this number increases, we decrease the number of days that fire apparatus is out of service due to staffing issues.”
Mayor Arrigo and Fire Chief Chris Bright noted that “brown out” days, so-called, are approaching a minimum. “It has been our goal,” said Mayor Arrigo, “that manpower shortages will no longer be a reason for apparatus to be out of service.”
Chief Bright commented that ‘brown-outs’ related to training or maintenance are much more manageable. “Manpower is the key, and our increased manpower makes us a stronger fire department in every respect.”
Increasing the number of firefighters has been a process. The Mayor cited the process of recruiting candidates onto a reserve list, then enlisting them into the fire academy for training. “These procedures take time, and our Human Resources department has worked cooperatively with Chief Bright to assure that we stay on track with our hiring objectives,” said Mayor Arrigo.
“It’s a process,” said Chief Bright. “There is a lag time in the hiring as we get candidates onto the reserve list, and then we need to get them into slots at the fire academy for training before they are ready for active fire duty.”
The Homeland Security SAFER Grant program was created to give fire departments support in meeting community needs. “We are fortunate that our Congressional delegation, including Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Katherine Clark, appreciate the financial burdens that modern-day public safety imposes on communities. Equipment is expensive, manpower is expensive, and communities strive to meet their needs. Federal assistance such as the SAFER Grant program is invaluable.”
Chief Bright praised his Administrative Assistant Paula Sarcia and Captain Mike Bowden for their diligence in preparing the grant application. “These applications are detailed and comprehensive. Completing a successful application takes hours of tedious work, but the results are self-evident. ”
As the City continues to grow, Mayor Arrigo has persisted in his call for public safety enhancements. “With increased staffing, and now the new Alden A. Mills Fire Station in the Point of Pines on the horizon, Revere will continue along a path of growth and commensurable public safety. We all benefit from the City’s growth, and increased public safety staffing and equipment are a direct result of our growth.