Orange County Fire and EMS Applies for SAFER Grant - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Orange County Fire and EMS Applies for SAFER Grant

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Orange County Fire and EMS is hoping to hire some new paramedics. On Tuesday night, its chief shared a plan to pay for the new hires with Orange County Board of Supervisors.

During the presentation, the chief let board members know his department has applied for the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER Grant). And if awarded, the chief explained how the funds would be used.

The department is looking to add three additional firefighter and medic positions. The grant would cover the cost of new employees for two years. Once that time passes, the county would be responsible for covering those positions or they would have to be eliminated.

The department says the additional support is crucial because it will help maintain staffing consistency. The department needs to have enough personnel to cover vacations, injury leave, and training.

Orange County Supervisor Shannon Abbs said, "When you have individuals who are new to the county for employment they have to go out for training that leaves a back fill for their time. This will allow us to have a consistent staffing that will allow for training and still provide a level of service to our citizens."

The fire and EMS department is requesting a little more than $375,000 in grant funds. The SAFER Grant comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and announcements are made weekly.

Chief John Harkness tells says if they don't get the grant they will decide whether or not to ask supervisors for the positions in the next budget cycle.

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