Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Announces Over $3.2 Million for Laredo Fire Department

Funds will allow Fire Department to hire 24 new firefighters

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LAREDO, Texas, August 3, 2017 | Rafael Benavides ((956) 725-0639) | comments

Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced today that the Laredo Fire Department has been awarded $3,276,320 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These funds will allow the Laredo Fire Department to hire 24 new full-time frontline firefighters. This funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) program. Congressman Cuellar helped fund this grant program through his role on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

The SAFER grant, now in its 18th year, previously awarded funding to hire firefighters for the City of Laredo’s Fire Department in 2007 and 2011. These federal funds will be used to cover a competitive base salary and the robust benefits package (including health, dental, vision, FICA, and life insurance) offered by fire departments across the country to first-year firefighters for three years.


Congressman Cuellar (TX-28) and representatives from the City of Laredo and the City of Laredo Fire Department announce a SAFER federal grant for over $3.2 million at the Laredo Firefighters Headquarters on Thursday. The funds will be used to hire an additional 24 firefighters.

 

“The City of Laredo’s Fire Department is among our nation’s finest,” Congressman Cuellar said. As a Laredo native and a member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I am pleased to see that federal decision-makers recognize the quality of our local responders. I’m glad to have played a role in securing this funding and it truly was a team effort. There’s no doubt that the real winner is the community of Laredo.”

The SAFER grant is a three-year cost sharing program. During the first and second year, the federal grant will cover 75 percent of the salary and benefits of the firefighters, while the city covers the other 25 percent. In the third year, the federal grant will cover 35 percent of the salary and benefits, and the city will cover the other 65 percent.

In total, the City of Laredo will provide matching funds in the amount of $2,036,632, creating a grand total investment in the Fire Department of $5,312,952.

The new firefighters will improve the staffing and deployment capabilities of the fire department and will allow for more effective response to emergencies.

These new positions will minimize current firefighters working excessive hours due to overtime and will help decrease the probability of job injuries due to fatigue.

These funds will provide the community an increased number of trained, certified, and competent firefighters that will continue to ensure the community has ample protection from fire and fire-related hazards and can meet the challenges of a growing community.

“We are truly blessed to be in a position to expand the services of the fire department to better our response time to emergencies in the furthest northern area of our community,” said City of Laredo Fire Department Chief Steve Landin. “We want to express our sincere appreciation for the support of our Congressman, FEMA, Mayor, City Council, City Manager’s Office and the International Association of Firefighters. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with all involved in providing emergency services to our community.”

With this new grant and those received in 2007 and 2011, a total of 69 new firefighters will have been hired by the City of Laredo through the SAFER program.

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