Newsroom - 11/19/2022

City of Hackensack Applies for Five New Firefighters Through Federal SAFER Grant 

The City of Hackensack has applied for grant funding to hire five new firefighters through the federal SAFER program, which is designed to help municipalities maintain adequate public safety staffing without overburdening local taxpayers. The city has formally amended its previous grant application, which included an ask for funding for 12 firefighting positions despite the City Council only authorizing a submission for five. The revised grant application is intended to balance the critical needs of both public safety and fiscal responsibility by increasing the Hackensack Fire Department’s manpower without overburdening local taxpayers.

“Ensuring the safety of our residents is paramount to the City of Hackensack, and by applying for this grant we can be proactive in increasing the Fire Department’s headcount and ensuring that manpower will continue to be strong and our residents will be safe,” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “Maintaining sufficient staffing in our police and fire departments is essential to keeping our city safe, but we must also always be mindful of the impact on taxpayers — this action strikes the right balance for our city.”

City officials are hopeful that its federal representatives will offer their support for the revised grant application in an effort to ensure unity and common purpose in serving the best interests of residents in Hackensack and surrounding communities.

“My goal has always been and will continue to be to provide proper firefighter staffing to keep the citizens of Hackensack and our firefighters safe,” said Hackensack Fire Chief Thomas Freeman. “I think it is always important to revisit staffing as the city grows, and I will be very satisfied to move forward with five new firefighters if that is the grant request the City Council prefers and if we are fortunate enough to be awarded with it.”

As one of the few paid fire departments in Bergen County, the Hackensack Fire Department maintains one of the fastest response times in the area and the department’s staffing currently meets National Fire Protection Association standards for single family homes. City officials are committed to continuing to closely monitor staffing levels to ensure the Department’s capabilities are sufficient as Hackensack continues to grow, in addition to pursuing more shared services and cooperation with nearby municipalities to enhance capabilities in a fiscally responsible manner.