Portland firefighters and the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine on Monday endorsed former state Sen. Ethan Strimling for mayor during a news conference at Central Station.

John Brooks, president of the Portland Professional Fire Fighters union, Local 740 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the union is endorsing Strimling because he has a track record of supporting firefighters at the state level. They hope that he will be able to provide leadership at City Hall that ensures adequate funding for the 911 communications center, fire prevention and inspections, and training.

“We did not take this decision to endorse a mayor lightly and this is not just a paper endorsement,” said Brooks, who said the union would provide “boots on the ground” to help the Strimling campaign.

Brooks said the union did not make an endorsement in 2011, and that incumbent Mayor Michael Brennan has not done anything that has negatively affected the union, which represents about 250 firefighters and medics.

The union’s executive board and members made their decision after meeting for about two hours with each candidate, according to Michael Crouse, a representative of Local 740.

Crouse said the endorsement has nothing to do with wages or benefits, only with the candidates’ views on the core functions of government and a commitment to public safety. He also said the endorsement isn’t “negative towards anybody.”

Previously, four city councilors and seven school board members also endorsed Strimling, the executive director of a nonprofit who finished second to Brennan in the 2011 mayoral race, the first in nearly 90 years.

Last week, Brennan received the endorsement of Sen. Justin Alfond, the Democratic leader in the state Senate.

“Today, Portland is stronger because of Michael Brennan,” Alfond said in a written statement. “He has built broad coalitions with the business community, educators, non-profit organizations, and legislators to grow our economy, improve our schools, improve the way the city does business, and strengthen our city’s voice in Augusta.”

Green Independent Tom MacMillan is also running for mayor.