The city of Phoenix received a grant to hire 28 new firefighters to replace positions that were eliminated during recent budget cuts.

Phoenix was awarded $4.4 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city says during the last five years cuts in personnel and services have totaled more than $80 million. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) funding will allow the Phoenix Fire Department to maintain staffing in accordance with National Fire Protection Association codes.

“This funding is critical to the safety of Phoenix residents,” said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, chairman of the City Council Public Safety, Veterans, Transparency and Ethics Subcommittee, in a statement. “I know the tremendous amount of work required to be successful in securing federal funding, and applaud Chief Khan and his team for submitting an excellent application.”

The last time the Phoenix Fire Department hired new firefighters was in December of 2011. At that time the city hired 42 firefighters. These firefighters were also funded by a SAFER grant, said Michael Hammett, public information officer with the city of Phoenix.

The additional firefighters will strengthen the regional mutual-aid system, which sends the closest available fire unit to an emergency regardless of jurisdiction boundaries. The system includes 25 neighboring fire departments and protects about 3.8 million people.

For more information on the grant, call the District 7 office at (602) 262-7492.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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