Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the Reno Fire Department (RFD) will receive a grant for more than $7 million, allowing RFD to hire an additional twenty firefighters. The new firefighters will lower response times for Nevadans in need and help the department save over $2 million annually in overtime costs. In April, Cortez Masto sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Managing Agency (FEMA) advocating for the RFD to receive this Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant funding to help address staff shortages and help keep Northern Nevadans safe.
“Fire season has become a year-round reality in Nevada, threatening countless lives, property, and small businesses, and I’m committed to getting our firefighters the support they need to stay healthy and keep our communities safe,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “As Northern Nevada’s largest fire department, the Reno Fire Department needs to have every resource to respond to emergencies. I’m glad FEMA heeded my call to deliver these necessary funds to the RFD so they can hire more firefighters and help protect Nevadans.”
“Adequate staffing is a critical component of an all-risk department like Reno,” said Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran. “The SAFER grant funds and the ability to hire more firefighters will provide a much needed boost to the Department’s staffing levels so that we can continue to provide and maintain the highest level of service, both for Reno and for the region.”
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate for Nevada firefighters and has led federal efforts combat wildfires. This year she introduced her comprehensive Western Wildfire Support Act to help prevent, respond to, and recover from wildfires. The senator also helped secure over $8 billion for wildfire prevention, suppression, and restoration activities in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, including $10 million she authored for wildfire detection equipment. Senator Cortez Masto has repeatedly called for the federal government to do more to support Western states affected by fire, and regularly hosts conversations with local leaders to better understand how she can best help Nevada’s fire professionals. During her time in the Senate, Cortez Masto has consistently advocated for and secured federal dollars for Nevada fire departments in every county in need.