Roanoke County is pleased to announce a grant award for $2,916,945.00 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the fiscal year 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Response (SAFER) program.
The SAFER program is a competitive grant awarded to deserving fire departments that demonstrate a clear need for additional firefighter staffing. Over three years, the grant will fund the hiring and salaries of 15 firefighter positions. DHS will fund 100% of the grant under the Economic Hardship Waiver related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is great news for the County of Roanoke. These Federal funds will allow us to enhance fire and rescue services across the County,” said David F. Radford, Chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors.
For many years, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue has been challenged in meeting staffing levels while faced with increased needs for service. “The department will utilize the 15 positions to ensure adequate emergency response capabilities, and improve coverage during multiple calls and significant fires,” reports Chief Stephen G. Simon.
A recruit school scheduled to start in January 2021 will provide training, and the new personnel will be assigned to stations in April 2021.
The goal of the SAFER grant program is to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities to respond to emergencies, and assure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Local fire departments accomplish this by improving staffing and deployment capabilities, so they are able to more effectively and safely respond to emergencies.
In November of this year, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue will conclude the first SAFER grant received in 2016 for 11 new firefighter positions. The County will continue to fund these positions once the grant concludes on November 5, 2020. For more information about the SAFER grant program, visit: https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters/safer