U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today announced a combined $1,149,523 in federal funding to recruit and hire new firefighters in Hoboken and Wildwood to help ensure readiness to respond to future emergencies.

“Investing in our firefighters is an investment in our own safety and the safety of our families,” said Sen. Menendez. “This federal funding will help provide the necessary staffing so our local fire departments are fully prepared to respond to the next emergency, whether that be a house fire, natural disaster, or man-made disaster.”

“The brave men and women in firehouses like Hoboken and Wildwood stand up and take on the challenge of protecting our communities each and every day,” said Sen. Booker. “In turn, we need to stand up for them by providing the necessary federal resources and adequate staffing needed to ensure their safety and the security of our communities.”

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, which helps local fire departments to hire, recruit and retain firefighters to ensure proper staffing levels to better protect their citizens and communities, are awarded competitively and are administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Hoboken was awarded $667,539, Wildwood $481,984, to each hire four full-time firefighters. In addition to fighting fires, both departments were instrumental in rescue operations during Superstorm Sandy.

Since 2005, New Jersey fire departments have been awarded over $242 million in SAFER grants. The senators have also supported the federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) program, which provides funding to ensure local firefighters are properly equipped and trained. Since it was established in 2001, New Jersey has received over $165 million in funding from the AFG program to enhance response capabilities, including $142,858 last week to the Elsinboro Fire Co. in Salem County to improve safety and operations.