The Fire Department has received a $343,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security that will help it meet an important staffing threshold on calls.
The grant will cover the salaries and benefits of three new firefighters, allowing the department to send out four-man crews on all calls, fire Chief Tim Guffey said, rather than the three full-time employees it sends now. The increase will help ensure the department is meeting federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Fire Protection Association and N.C. Department of Insurance standards.
“Four people is the minimum that the Department of Insurance ISO (International Organization for Standardization) expects you to have on calls,” Guffey said. The department currently often relies on sending a volunteer firefighter as a fourth. “This way we’ve got the guarantee,” Guffey said.
Guffey said the new hires will help the department be prepared to respond to the needs of the community while also enhancing the safety of its firefighters.
The town will cover the costs of uniforms and equipment for the three new firefighters, about $4,500 to $5,000 per person, Guffey said. Once the grant runs out in two years, the town will be responsible for salary and benefits as well.
The department is one of only 300 nationwide to be awarded the grant.
Guffey said the town is finalizing the hiring process and doesn’t expect the hires to be made until possibly as late as November. The positions have not yet been advertised.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826