Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Federal grant saves 5 firefighter jobs
The jobs of five Caroline County firefighters are SAFER due to the renewal of a federal grant.
The Caroline County Department of Fire-Rescue and Emergency Management was awarded a $602,365 grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant helps fire departments maintain trained frontline firefighters in their communities during hard economic times.
Fire-EMS Chief Jason Loftus said this grant will allow the departments to continue to deliver its current emergency staffing levels, which employs five career firefighters and covers daytime staffing at three fire stations–Bowling Green Fire, Ladysmith Fire and Upper Caroline Fire & Rescue.
“Without these funds, the department would have been severely impacted in our ability to deliver essential services to our citizens,” Loftus said.
The grant fully funds the salary and benefits for those five firefighters for two years. No local taxpayer matching funds are required, Loftus said.
Those five positions, which are currently grant funded, had been under fire because those funds will run out in September and were not picked up in the Caroline Board of Supervisor’s budget for fiscal year 2013.
But this is not the first time Caroline has received this grant. It was awarded $314,991 in 2011 and $575,100 in 2010.
“This was an extremely competitive and complex grant process awarded to a very small number of departments across the nation,” said Deputy Fire Chief Mark Garnett. “The outstanding efforts of the staff led to our success.”
Loftus said Caroline is the first virginia locality to receive the SAFER grant so far this grant period.