The Broken Arrow Fire Department announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from FEMA.
The Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant (SAFER) will be used to hire nine new firefighters. The grant will bring the fire department closer to its authorized staffing level.
The $1.1 million will provide 100 percent funding for salaries and benefits of nine entry level firefighters for up to two years. The grant will be effective from February 21, 2016 to February 20, 2018.
"The Safer Grant is a windfall for the fire department and will allow us to put nine new firefighters on the streets immediately", said Fire Chief Jeremy Moore. "We are hopeful that voters will approve the Vision 2025 extension on November 10, which will provide the dedicated funding to retain these firefighters when the grant funds expire in 2018."
During the two year period, the Broken Arrow Fire Department will be required to maintain the staffing level that existed at the time of the award, in addition to the safer-funded positions. The current staffing level is 141, with an authorized strength of 153.
The Fire Department says their goal is to hire 21 new cadets with an expected start date of November 2, and nine of the new fire fighters will be funded by the grant increasing the authorized strength to 162.
After the two year period, the fire department will be under no obligation to retain the positions funded by the grant. If the Broken Arrow citizens vote to approve the Vision 2025 extension, sufficient funding would exist to retain the new employees.
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