Mayor Joseph P. Ganim Fire Department
Bridgeport, CT Bridgeport, CT
For Immediate Release For More Information:
August 24, 2016 Av Harris (203) 814-7992 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Ganim, Senators Blumenthal, Murphy, Fire Chief Thode Present New Bridgeport Fire Recruit Class
New Class of 23 Recruits Reflects Diversity of the City; Most of the Recruit Class Funded Through Federal SAFER Grant of $2.7 Million
Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Joe Ganim joined Connecticut US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode today to present the 23 new Bridgeport fire recruits who have been selected to begin training at the Connecticut state fire academy. The new class is a diverse group made up almost entirely of Bridgeport residents, and includes military veterans, second chance returning citizens, and descendants of Bridgeport firefighters. Funding to hire most of the recruit class comes from a federal SAFER grant of $2.7 Million awarded to Bridgeport by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant funds the training and salaries of 17 of the new recruits. With the new recruits completing their training, Bridgeport’s Fire Department will reach a full manning level of 288 firefighters.
“I am so proud to announce the newest class of recruits to our fire department – a class that is both diverse and made up of almost all Bridgeport residents,” said Mayor Ganim. “These brave individuals are committing their lives to serving their fellow Bridgeport citizens in a community where they have deep roots. I am particularly grateful for the assistance of Connecticut’s federal delegation for helping our city secure the necessary funds to bring our staffing levels up to full capacity. This not only helps make Bridgeport a safer city, but will also help us reduce fire department overtime costs in our city budget. I also thank the leadership of Fire Chief Thode for putting together such a strong recruit class.”
CT US Senator Blumenthal said, “I am proud to have played a role in securing the federal funding for these new fire recruits. The dollars are fungible, however, while the people are what makes the Bridgeport fire department such a remarkable and life saving institution. Firefighters are role models, they provide the public with a life-saving service. These brave men have made a commitment to keeping their community safe and that is something to praise. There is no higher calling then what they do.”
CT US Senator Chris Murphy said “This is a heroic decision these individuals have made, to put their lives on the line to protect their fellow citizens. Their sacrifice is critical to the safety of this country. The SAFER grant was crucial to providing the most advanced training for a new generation of Bridgeport firefighter. These federal funds are hard to come by in difficult budget times, and it is a very competitive environment with many competing for grants. I am proud to have fought together with Senator Blumenthal to ensure Bridgeport gets the help it needs to keep the community safe for years to come.”
Chief Richard Thode, celebrating his 29th anniversary with the Bridgeport Fire Department, said, “These recruits represent the finest of Bridgeport, and they had to go through rigorous physical and written tests in order to be selected. As a Fire Department representing the largest city in our state, we are proud to have produced the most diverse class we have ever seen, because it means we reflect the community we serve. We also made a commitment to really giving some folks a second chance, despite having something on their record from the past. Everyone in this class has the chance to make Bridgeport city safer and maybe one day even serving as fire chief!”
The new firefighter class is made up of 23 men, including 14 Hispanic, five Caucasian, three African American and one Asian-American recruits. Of 700 original applicants to the Bridgeport Fire Department, 600 passed the entry exam. Of those, the top 50 candidates were selected to undergo evaluation and further testing, including background checks, to narrow the field down to the 23 recruits now beginning training. The new recruit class began a week-long orientation at the Bridgeport Fire headquarters on Monday August 22nd. This coming Monday August 29th, the class joins recruits from all over Connecticut to start 14-weeks of training at the Connecticut State Fire Academy in Windsor Locks. They will receive state-of-art instruction in fire suppression and mitigation procedures designed to meet nationally recognized standards and certifications.