Grant enables Westport to rehire two firefighters

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The Westport Fire Department has received notification that it has been awarded $244,483 under a 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. The purpose of this SAFER grant is to provide funding for rehiring of laid-off firefighters and positions lost through attrition. The Westport Fire Department will use the funds it has received to rehire firefighter Adam Silva who was laid off on September 2, and to replace a firefighter position lost by attrition in 2010,  Fire Chief Brian Legendre said. The SAFER grant fully funds these two positions for 24 months with no cost share to the town, the chief said. "The return of these two firefighter positions will return to department to full staffing for the first time in 2 years," he added. Chief Legendre said the grant announcement came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The goal of the SAFER program is to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies, assuring communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards, the chief said. "Ultimately, SAFER grantees should achieve more efficient responses and a safer incident scene." With the award of this grant the Westport Fire Department has received over 1.2 million in federal funds over the past 10 years.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.