The funds will be used to hire and train 22 new fire fighters.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County is receiving $5.6 million in federal grant money to pay for additional fire fighters. “We’re really excited to find out about this grant award that going to provide us 22 additional career fire fighters to better provide service to the citizens of Frederick County, ” says Tom Coe, Chief of the County’s Division of Fire and Rescue Services.
“They will be new hires. They will be trained. They’ll be brought into our recruit academy. We’re actually slated to start a recruit academy January 4th, 2021. So we’re deep into the hiring process for that class,” Coe continues.
He says the recruits will undergo 28 weeks of training. After graduation, some of them will be assigned to the new North Gate Fire Station which is expected to be completed next year. “That’s station’s going to be located on TJ Drive, Thomas Johnson Drive, on the north area of Frederick city, really close to the intersection of Monocacy Boulevard and Christophers Crossing,” says Chief Coe. “The north end of Frederick city there along that Route 15 corridor is really the most rapidly growing area of our county, and we’re really excited to expand our services up there.”
He says other new recruits will expand staffing at the Guardian Hose Company in Thurmont so it can provide 24-hours a day, seven days a week service. “Thurmont is growing. But at the same time, they’re receiving some strains in the reduction of volunteerism. And they’ve requested help for the last three years. We’re excited to partner with them to cooperatively staff that fire station.”
The funds come from the US Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, which provides grants to local fire departments. Coe says the county has received grants previously from the SAFER program. “We’ve been fortunate since 2016 to have three different SAFER grant awards,” he says. In addition, the federal government is not requiring a match with this grant.
He also says the County will take over providing salaries and benefits for the 22 new fire fighters after a three-year period.
The SAFER grant provided to Frederick County is part of $14.7 million being awarded to fire departments in western Maryland. That includes $8 million for the Washington County Board of County Commissioners to hire 33 full time fire fighters, and $1 million to Garrett County to support recruitment and retention activities for the county’s 11 volunteer fire departments.
By Kevin McManus