On February 27th the Old Saybrook Fire Department learned that they are the recipient of an $82,595 grant from FEMA for Firefighter Recruitment and Retention.
One part of the grant, $60,000, is earmarked for College and Trade School Tuition reimbursement for Firefighters wishing to commute from Old Saybrook for their education. About $15,000 per year for four years will be divided among firefighters who will apply for the program. Affordable housing for firefighters in Old Saybrook is difficult to find and the grant application explained that obtaining higher education may assist firefighters in obtaining better employment allowing them to continue to reside in town. Also, several firefighters each semester leave Old Saybrook to attend colleges and universities and choose to live on campus. This grant will encourage some of those firefighters to commute and remain active in the all volunteer department during the semester.
The second part of the grant, $22,595, is dedicated to produce a thirty second professional recruiting television commercial in conjunction with Sonalysts Inc, Waterford. The commercial will benefit the 13 fire departments that make up the Valley Shore Mutual Aid Association. Many of the departments will be featured in the commercial which will lead prospective firefighters to www.joinyourfd.com, a website currently being developed. The site will guide people to their town’s fire department for recruitment information. The commercial will air on local television stations as a public service announcement when completed.