A new item was placed on the Carson City Board of Supervisor’s agenda for the meeting happening tomorrow, Thursday May 20, which is in reference to the potential hiring of additional firefighters through the SAFER Grant.
Agenda item 27A reads: The SAFER Grant provides funding for three years to hire additional firefighter/paramedics providing 100 percent of the total cost of salary and benefits based on a first year (entry level) firefighter/paramedic.
According to the agenda the SAFER Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained front line firefighter / paramedics available in their communities.
The grant is funded through FEMA, said Carson City Fire Chief Sean Slamon, and it exists to aid in meeting the standards for firefighter staffing recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.
“The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommends 15-17 firefighters arrive to a reported house fire within 9 minutes from the dispatch time,” said Slamon. “The standard also recommends four firefighters are assigned to each engine company. Currently, Carson City Fire does not meet that standard. Our fire engines are staffed with three firefighters and we respond with a total of fourteen firefighters to a reported house fire.”
Slamon said they are requesting nine additional firefighters through the SAFER grant.
“The nine firefighters will allow us to assign four firefighters to our three fire engines,” said Slamon. “National studies have shown that four firefighters per engine can complete emergency tasks on the fire scene 25 percent faster than three firefighters.”
If awarded, the nine new firefighters would also be utilized to cover vacancies that occur when firefighters are off because of vacation leave or injury. The additional firefighters will reduce overtime costs by approximately $300,000 per year, said Slamon.
The deadline to apply for the SAFER Grant is May 27, and it is a highly competitive grant that fire departments throughout the country will be applying for, according to Slamon.
“We have added a basic life support ambulance to our staffing levels two years ago but they are not firefighters and only respond to Medical Calls,” said Slamon. “We have not increased the number of firefighters on duty in over ten years, during that time call volumes have increased by over 50 percent. While we continue to provide excellent service, the addition of nine firefighters will help us maintain that excellent service as our call volume continues to increase.”
You can read the Board of Supervisors agenda and supporting materials by clicking here.