Stafford’s fire department will soon be able to add more firefighters to its workforce to help serve the city’s residents.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s office announced Sept. 11 that the Stafford Fire Department was awarded a federal grant for $753,778.80 to increase its full-time staff by 60 percent and support its work. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant provides direct funding to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help increase the number of trained firefighters.
“As a department we are extremely appreciative of the continued support of Stafford Mayor Scarcella and Stafford City Council who encouraged the application be submitted,” Stafford Fire Chief Larry Di Camillo said. “Further, the efforts of Senator Cornyn, Congressman (Pete) Olson, DHS, FEMA and other agencies who ensure this program is available annually are much appreciated and deserving of recognition.”
In October 2018, the Stafford City Council approved the submission of the grant application to hire six full-time firefighters to augment its personnel – which currently includes 10 full-time, 32 part-time and 43 volunteer firefighters – to ensure adequate personnel are on-duty and available to respond to emergencies in Stafford.
A goal is of the grant program is to help fire departments increase their deployment capabilities and attain 24-hour staffing, thus assuring their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.
“Firefighters are on the front lines of keeping our communities safe, and they deserve every resource possible at their disposal,” Cornyn said in a news release. “I applaud area leaders for their work to obtain this grant.”
The grant will be paid over course of the next three years. For the first two 12-month periods, federal funds will pay for 75 percent, with 25 percent coming from the city of Stafford. During the third year, the city will pay 65 percent of the costs, while federal funds will account for the final 35 percent.
The next step, according to Di Camillo, is requesting acceptance of the grant from the Stafford City Council. If the grant is accepted, Di Camillo anticipated new personnel beginning employment with the Stafford department by March 2020.