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Contact(s):Gregory Summers
Interim Fire Chief
501-918-3741

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, February 19, 2009

CITY OF LITTLE ROCK RECEIVES GRANT TO ADD FIREFIGHTERS

Sen. Pryor, Rep. Snyder announce FEMA Grant for 18 More to Join Little Rock Fire Service

(Thursday, February 19, 2009) – Eighteen additional men and women will be joining the Little Rock Fire Department because the City received a SAFER Grant that was announced by US Senator Mark Pryor and US Representative Vic Snyder at a press conference today.

Joining the Congressional leaders in making the announcement were Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, City Manager Bruce T. Moore, other City leaders, Interim Fire Chief Gregory Summers and men and women of the Little Rock Fire Department.

The City will receive $1,856,906 to hire an additional 18 firefighters in 2009.

In making the announcement Senator Pryor praised those who go into fire service. “The men and women who put their lives on the line each day to keep our families and property safe are, indeed, heroes. I am grateful to them and am pleased to be here today to announce this grant which will put additional firefighters on the streets of Little Rock.”

Congressman Snyder echoed those points. “As first responders, the Little Rock Fire Department personnel play an integral role in keeping our City safe. The City of Little Rock and the Little Rock fire personnel have been working hard to obtain this federal funding to make the citizens of Little Rock safer. These are a great group of men and women, and I’m pleased their hard work has paid off.”

“Public Safety is the number one priority of the City of Little Rock,” stated Mayor Mark Stodola. “Over 23% of the City’s budget goes to the Fire Department. With the SAFER Grant, the City will be able to continue to effectively and efficiently serve the Little Rock citizenry.”

“Currently 70 % of our units are assigned four personnel, with the addition of these 18 firefighters 94% of our units will be assigned 4 personnel,” noted Interim Fire Chief Gregory C. Summers. “As a result of the enhanced staffing, thecitizens of Little Rock can be assured that the exceptional service that they have come to expect of the LRFD will only be enhanced.”

U S Senator Blanche Lincoln was unable to attend the announcement due to recent surgery but sent a representative from her office.

Both Mayor Stodola and Chief Summers thanked Senators Pryor and Lincoln, Congressman Snyder, City Manager Bruce T. Moore, the City’s Finance Department, the firm of Finnegan and Company, and the Little Rock Fire Department personnel for their efforts in obtaining the grant.

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About SAFER Grants
The SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front-line" firefighters available in their communities.

The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by NFPA and OSHA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720 and OSHA 1910.134 - see www.nfpa.org/SAFERActGrant for more details). Specifically, SAFER funds should assist local fire departments to increase their staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies whenever they may occur. As a result of the enhanced staffing, response times should be sufficiently reduced with an appropriate number of personnel assembled at the incident scene. Also, the enhanced staffing should provide that all front-line/first-due apparatus of SAFER grantees have a minimum of four trained personnel to meet the OSHA standards referenced above. Ultimately, a faster, safer and more efficient incident scene will be established and communities will have more adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.

About the Little Rock Fire Department
For more then 128 years, LRFD has provided comprehensive fire safety and emergency services for the citizens of the City of Little Rock, Arkansas. The department is staffed with highly qualified professional firefighters who are focused on prevention and education, and always ready to provide fire and emergency services – saving lives and protecting property. LRFD has twenty (20) fire stations and over 400 employees that protect 123 square miles and 187,000 citizens, along with the thousands of visitors and people who work in the City every day.

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