Two Hard-Hit N.J. Cities Accept SAFER Grants

Atlantic City and Camden have accepted SAFER grants allowing both cities to hire back laid-off firefighters, according to media reports.

Both departments were awarded the grants on Feb. 11, but their city councils took until this week to accept them.

Camden's $5.1 million grant will help rehire close to 15 of the 60 firefighters laid off by the department in January. Officials told the The Inquirer that they expect the rehiring to begin on April 1.

Atlantic City's $9.1 million grant will be used to rehire all 30 firefighters who were laid off in September, according to The Press of Atlantic City.

The laid-off firefighters could return within two to three weeks. The grant also will allow the city to fill 21 open positions.

"It's going to be huge to the department," Battalion Chief Joe Rush, who helped write the grant application, told the newspaper. "We're ready to move forward tomorrow."