Chief Matthew Grafton
25 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180-2044
For Immediate Release
Friday, Oct. 12, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Stoneham Fire Department Receives FEMA Grant to Add Four New Firefighters
STONEHAM — Chief Matthew Grafton is pleased to announce that the Stoneham Fire Department received a Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant to add four firefighters to its roster.
The SAFER Grant is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It provides funding to fire departments to assist them in maintaining industry staffing standards and reaching 24-hour coverage to ensure communities and firefighters receive adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
Stoneham Fire received the $505,000 grant — which will be administered over three years — from FEMA on Aug. 31, and it was unanimously accepted by the Select Board last month. Stoneham will also contribute approximately $314,000 over the three-year period.
“I want to thank FEMA for awarding Stoneham with this much needed grant allocation, along with Town Administrator Thomas Younger and the Select Board for supporting the department throughout the application process and later accepting the grant,” Chief Grafton said.
The department will now move from 39 members to 43. An additional four firefighters will also allow Stoneham Fire to run three companies — two engines and one ladder — at all times. This is vital not only for emergencies in Stoneham, but for when the department renders mutual aid to other communities. Currently, there are times when the department is only staffed with one engine and one ladder. This becomes problematic while providing mutual aid because it leaves just one company to protect the Town of Stoneham.
Prior to applying for the FEMA grant, Chief Grafton completed a staffing survey of area communities and found that Stoneham was the only comparable town to operate with only two companies. Additionally, with approximately 1,000 more housing units being proposed, under construction, or already constructed in Stoneham, increasing the fire department’s roster was crucial.
“This grant puts us in line with similar communities and increases safety for firefighters and our residents,” Chief Grafton said. “With an additional four firefighters, we can accomplish multiple critical tasks on the initial arrival at a fire. We will now have enough manpower to start to extinguish the fire and begin a search of the building as we simultaneously establish a water supply. These steps are critical to initiate while we’re waiting for mutual aid to assist.”
Chief Grafton is currently in the process of hiring the four firefighters, who will enter the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in March.