East Pierce Fire and Rescue (EPFR) just received word that we have been awarded a FEMA SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) Grant for a value of $1,699,898. This grant will allow EPFR to add another nine (9) Firefighters for the purpose of improving staffing on three engine companies. The grant is specific to staffing for fire suppression.
This grant offsets the cost of new firefighters over a three-year period. In the first two years, the grant provides 75 percent of the cost of an entry level firefighter. In year three, that value drops to 25 percent. In the fourth year, the fire department is responsible for the full cost of the employees.
“This news, combined with our levy lid lifts being approved earlier this week, is a pretty historical moment in the history of our department” states Chief Bud Backer. We are going to be able to make some significant improvements to our staffing, which will increase public and firefighter safety.
East Pierce must hire the positions that this grant will award within six months. The new hires will then attend a fire academy and begin their 18-month probationary period.
With voters approving the levy lid lifts, EPFR had planned to hire nine firefighters to place an additional medic unit in service. Now, EPFR will look to add 18 firefighters to increase staffing. It would take 22 firefighters in all to fill all of the gaps, but this represents a huge step for the department.
Visit: www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants-grantee-award-year-2016 to see a list of all fire departments receiving awards.