SECAUCUS – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-8th) Monday afternoon joined Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Fire Chief George Schoenrock at the town’s September 11 Memorial to announce that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded a new federal Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) to the Secaucus Fire Department for $61,071. Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, local council members, police officers, and volunteer firefighters were on hand for the announcement.
The grant, made through the Fire Prevention & Safety program (FP&S) and the only funding awarded to New Jersey in this cycle, will be used to purchase a safety trailer that will serve as a tool to teach residents how to evacuate a burning home. The total amount of FP&S grants awarded nationally was $4,326,769 for this cycle.
“Education is a key component to any successful fire prevention strategy,” said Pascrell, who introduced the original FIRE Act in March 1999, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 2000.
The FIRE Act was written by Pascrell in northern New Jersey with the purpose of helping communities improve public safety and support their first responders. He said that since the day he was sworn in he has made a commitment to first responders.
“It is a great day for Secaucus,” said Pascrell.
“We can’t thank you enough,” said Gonnelli. “This is really going to be something special.”
Gonnelli is a volunteer firefighter who previously served as fire chief for six years. He said that the trailer will be shared with surrounding communities on a rotating basis and will be used as an educational tool to teach residents how to escape a burning home.
“It is a great opportunity to receive a state of the art teaching tool to help prepare not only children but adults,” said Battalion Chief Bryan Schoch prior to the event. He said that the safety trailer will help firefighters demonstrate hands on how to prevent fires in the kitchen as well as dangers in the home.
“It is more than just fires,” said Fire Official Vincent Massaro, Jr prior to the event. He said that the trailer will also help teach weather emergency education such as what to do during tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Massaro added that the town had applied for the grant three years in a row without success until this year.
Next month, local firefighters along will go to schools on Oct. 7 for Fire Prevention Week to teach fire safety and prevention. The fire department also gives workshops at the Senior Buildings and at residential buildings.