Grant helps fill firefighter positions, but more staffing needed

By Kelsey O’Connor
The Ithaca Voice

Photo by Kelsey O’Connor / The Ithaca Voice
From left, Ithaca Fire Department’s Lt. Tom Basher, Assistant Chief Brian Weinstein and Trevor Peyus, president of the Ithaca Professional Fire Fighters Association.

More than $1 million in federal grants over the past two years has helped fill firefighter positions at the Ithaca Fire Department and provide important equipment. Legislation recently passed will help continue those grant programs.

In September 2016, the Ithaca Fire Department received a $634,000 grant to fund the salary of four firefighters for two years. Mayor Svante Myrick said the four new firefighters finished the fire academy in May and last week finished training. After the grant expires, it’s on the city to fund the positions, said Lt. Tom Basher of the Ithaca Fire Department.
“It’s a great start to getting the amount of firefighters we actually need,” he said.

Over the last two years, the Ithaca Fire Department has received more than $1 million in grant funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. In addition to adding firefighters to the team through the SAFER grant, the AFG program has helped provide the Ithaca Fire Department — and other local departments — with needed equipment. Since 2015, the Ithaca Fire Department has received more than $450,000 in grants from the AFG program.

For more on this story, visit the Ithaca Voice website at ithacavoice.com/2017/08/federal-grant-helps-fill-ithaca-firefighter-positions-staffing-still-needed.