Marion Fire Department awarded federal grant to increase personnel
MARION — The Marion Fire Department received a $152,398 federal grant to help recruit and retain call firefighter in the town.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants, or “SAFER” for short, is distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and provides funding for for fire departments to help increase and maintain the number of firefighters able to respond to emergencies in a given community.
The grant covers four years. The fire department will use the funds to recruit and retain an additional five call firefighters each year. The awarded money will cover entry level physicals, personal protective equipment, EMT training, marketing efforts, and a recruitment and retention coordinator.
The Marion Fire Department currently has just two full time members, and predominantly consists of paid-on-call firefighters. Like many other paid-on-call and volunteer fire departments, it has been experiencing a decrease in personnel.
"This is not a problem occurring only in Marion," Fire Chief Brian Jackvony said. "Across the state and across the country, the number of call and volunteer firefighters is decreasing. We need to be creative with our recruitment efforts and find ways to retain our members while minimizing the cost to taxpayers. This grant allows us to overcome some of the recruitment obstacles we face so that our staffing levels can remain sufficient to serve the needs of the Marion community."