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Five LBFD Firefighters Rehired After Schumer Secures Grant

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced at a press conference Saturday that the Long Beach Fire Department received a federal grant to rehire five firefighters who were laid off due to city budget cuts earlier this year.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced at a press conference Saturday that the Long Beach Fire Department received a federal grant to rehire five firefighters who were laid off due to city budget cuts earlier this year.
Story and Photos by Steve Fiorentine.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced at a press conference Saturday that the Long Beach Fire Department received a federal grant to rehire five firefighters who were laid off due to city budget cuts earlier this year.
  
The LBFD will receive $910,530 from the Department of Homeland Security’s SAFER Program that will pay the salaries of the rehired firefighters for two years. After that time the city can apply to renew the grant.

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“We all know, more than probably any other place, the Long Beach Fire Department and the city of Long Beach and the community of Long Beach are totally intertwined,” Schumer said at the press conference, held at LBFD headquarters at City Hall.

“Being laid off for the last five months was very tough,” said Brian Olson, one of the rehired firefighters. “All five of us put a lot of hard work in to getting hired here. It’s not an easy thing to come by so seeing the fruits of all the work that we’ve put in to get that job back, it’s a great feeling.”

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) was a program formed
as part of the Safer Act, a law that Schumer co-authored. Its stated purpose is to give funding to fire departments to increase the number of firefighters, as well as to rehire those who were laid off due to a municipality’s economic troubles.

“It’s a lot of relief,” rehired firefighter Bryan Jones said. “I’m very happy to have my job back. It’s a lot of weight off of my shoulders and a lot of stress relieved. It just feels good to be back.”

Schumer also thanked Long Beach’s first responders for their efforts during and after Hurricane Sandy. The senator assured the people in attendance that shoreline communities such as Long Beach would be rebuilt rather than abandoned.

“We owe all these firefighters a debt of gratitude,” Schumer said. “In time of increased need of emergency service and emergency medical response, it’s critical to increase the core first responders available to Long Beach’s residents.”

City Manager Jack Schnirman called the grant a sign of recovery, both financially and physically.

“It’s a real shot in the arm to get these guys back,” he said. “Our public safety needs have obviously risen following the storm, particularly at a time when we don’t have a working hospital in the city. We need even more folks driving those ambulances and these guys couldn’t come at a better time."

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The city originally applied for the grant prior to the storm, but pushed harder for it after Sandy, Schnirman said. With Schumer’s help, the grant was approved.

“It’s like getting my life back in order, getting back on track and restarting my career,” said Chris Koehle, a rehired firefighter. “It’s nice to get back to kind of a normalcy.”
Brian McNamara December 03, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Good Job Billy Piazza and Chris Troy. The two Firefighters that wrote the grant. Not a simple thing. They did an excellent job, and their hard work paid off.
Tideline December 03, 2012 at 07:19 AM
Shouldn't the 5 re hired Firemen and the City have Thanked the Grant writers who made the re hire possible ?
paul.d.spellman December 03, 2012 at 07:46 AM
What happens in two years if the grant is not renewed, do they get laid off again?
Courtney December 03, 2012 at 08:23 AM
Tideline, one of the the rehired firefighters spoke at the conference and did thank them. His speech about them wasn't aired anywhere.
Tideline December 03, 2012 at 08:31 AM
C, Thanks for the complete information that Patch should have included in the article. It is important that the 5 re hires Thank those who made it possible for them to re gain their jobs. This could not have happened at a better time. Given what out situation is, you would think the City could have gotten this approved without the Senators assistance.
IRISH 4 December 03, 2012 at 09:31 AM
Seems to me Schirman trying to grab some credit for getting them rehired . give credit where credit is due and it isnt due to him. congratulations .I know you worked hard to get on the lbfd .r
Nancy December 03, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Couldn't be happier that these men got their jobs back and kudos to those that wrote up the grants ... The bigger problem here again WHY does LB need outside help ...why can't we stand on our own two feet ! Our bottom always weak ... thank God others recognizing our town's own needs ...
Brian McNamara December 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaSOmSsUqmA&feature=share&list=UUjQ57lOa5K-OXJeOlZEbZHA This should help

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