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$190 Million in "SAFER" Grants For California Fire Departments

Governor's Office of Homeland Security Encourages Eligible Partners to Apply for $190 Million in "SAFER" Grants

SACRAMENTO - Today, Office of Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen encouraged local fire departments to apply for federal grants under the 2008 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) Grants.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today posted the Program Guidance document, beginning the application period.

Congress appropriated $190 million dollars for SAFER grants under the DHS Appropriations Act of 2008. The SAFER Grant program 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.

"This grant program is one of the many ways the Governor Schwarzenegger's Administration works with locals to leverage federal resources to enhance California's firefighting capabilities," said Bettenhausen. In previous years, the OHS and the Office of Emergency Services (OES) have partnered with FEMA to deliver regional workshops on various FEMA programs.

A similar FEMA grant program focusing on smaller departments equipment needs has allowed local, California fire agencies to acquire 137 fire fighting vehicles since 2001.

"The Office of Homeland Security and the Office of Emergency Services will provide grant writing and technical assistance to fire departments and other eligible applicants seeking funds through this program," added Bettenhausen.

The SAFER Grant Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is done in coordination with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

The Program Guidance document for FY2008 SAFER grants is posted on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program website at ( DHS will begin accepting applications May 27, 2008 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The deadline for receipt of the SAFER Grant applications will be June 27, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The applications will be automated. Other helpful sites include the USFA website (, and the website ( These sites also include information on the eligibility criteria, application process, and important deadlines. A Help Desk is available at 1-866-274-0960 during normal business hours.

For further information regarding the Governor's Office of Homeland Security please visit our website at

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