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Syracuse FD receives largest grant ever to hire new firefighters, purchase new equipment

Ellen Abbott

The Syracuse Fire Department is getting a big boost from some federal funds. One FEMA grant totaling more than $3.2 million will allow the department to hire a dozen new firefighters.

“These additional firefighters will bring our staffing up to levels we haven’t seen in decades,” said Syracuse Fire Chief Michael Monds.

That grant will cover the new firefighter salaries for three years.

The grants will also allow the department to purchase new thermal imaging cameras for every engine company, something that the city hasn’t been able to afford in the past.

“Those cameras can see right through smoke,” said Monds. “Whether we’re on the outside, when we show up we can point those cameras to the outside and see exactly where the fire is and we can direct companies to go right to the fire."

Monds also says funds will also come in handy as the department adjusts to a changing city. Between the Interstate 81 project, and more people moving to downtown Syracuse into multi-story buildings, Monds expects changes in the way the department responds to the community.

"We definitely have an eye on expanding, it’s just a matter of getting the resources to get us to that point."