Frederick County has been awarded a $5,581,396 grant to pay for 22 additional career firefighter positions, which will reduce response times and enhance firefighter and public safety throughout the county. The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program. When the new positions are filled, the Division of Fire & Rescue Service will have 495 operational career firefighters.
“The SAFER grant is absolutely fantastic news for Frederick County,” said County Executive Jan Gardner. “This grant will allow us to fully staff the new Northgate Fire Station in the City of Frederick and expand day-time only staffing to 24/7 coverage in Thurmont. It’s all about taking care of people and making sure we can respond quickly and effectively to calls for assistance. A big shout out to our federal delegation for their hard work to secure these funds so we can better serve and protect our community.”
The funding allows the County to add positions earlier than otherwise would have been possible. It will support 100% of salary and benefits for the positions for three years. This is the third time the county has received a SAFER grant. In 2016, the county was awarded $6.3 million for 41 additional combined firefighter and emergency medical positions and in 2018, the county received $5.5 million for 38 additional positions.
“This SAFER grant award will enable the County to meet the ever-increasing demand for service,” said Fire Chief Tom Coe. “Not only will this award allow us to meet a critical request from our volunteer partners but it will assist in staffing the new North Gate fire station which will provide service to the rapidly growing area north of Frederick City.”
The Division of Fire and Rescue Services is a combination career and volunteer department consisting of 25 combined career/volunteer stations and four all-volunteer stations. The department is responsible for providing fire and emergency medical service response to over 255,000 residents. In 2019, it responded to over 34,000 calls for service.