Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – President Joe Biden made a significant announcement in Philadelphia on Monday, highlighting the federal government’s commitment to enhancing public safety. Joined by local firefighters, Biden revealed that federal funding has been secured to reopen three fire companies in the city: Engine 6, Ladder 1, and Ladder 11.
These companies were previously decommissioned during the Great Recession, and their absence has been felt in the community, especially following a tragic incident last year.
Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia
In the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, a rowhouse fire claimed the lives of twelve people, including three adults and nine children. Union leaders have pointed out that the cutbacks in fire services have adversely impacted the city’s ability to respond effectively to such emergencies.
The White House confirmed that Philadelphia would receive $22.4 million in federal funds, which will cover the salaries and benefits of 72 firefighters for three years. This funding is part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The program’s aim is to enhance the ability of fire departments across the country to achieve and maintain 24/7 staffing and to ensure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
Other notable figures attended the special event
The announcement event was attended by notable figures including Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell, Ed Kelly, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, and Mike Bresnan, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22.
Biden’s visit to Philadelphia also has political background
In addition to addressing public safety concerns, Biden’s visit to Philadelphia also served political purposes. He was scheduled to hold a campaign fundraiser in the city, signaling his ramp-up in fundraising efforts ahead of a potential rematch with Republican former President Donald Trump in the next year’s presidential race.