The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Grant will keep Caroline firefighters on job
BY PORTSIA SMITH
The jobs of five Caroline County firefighters are safer, thanks 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 grant helps fire departments maintain trained frontline firefighters in their communities during hard economic times.
Fire–EMS Chief Jason Loftus said the SAFER grant will allow the department to continue its current emergency staffing levels, which involves five career firefighters who provide daytime staffing at three fire stations.
“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 the funding was set to run out in September. The Caroline Board of Supervisors did not include funding for the positions in its budget for fiscal 2013.
Caroline was awarded a $314,991 SAFER grant 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.