Fire department approved for Homeland Security grant

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | 2:42 p.m. CST; updated 3:54 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 8, 2013

COLUMBIA — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded the Columbia Fire Department with a $658,120 grant. 

Pending approval from City Council, the grant will allow for the department to hire five new firefighters and pay for their salaries for the next two years, starting March 3, according to a press release. 

The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program. The program aims to increase local fire departments' staff in hopes of bolstering emergency response. 

"This grant announcement is great news for public safety in Columbia," Fire Chief Chuck Witt said in the release. "The additional firefighters will provide much needed manpower and improve overall efficiency during emergency operations."

The new hires from the grant will allow the second fire truck at Station 2 to be used more frequently, after a budget shortfall required the station's second truck team to be transferred to Station 9 in 2010, according to the release. 

Although the department added four new firefighters in December, it will offer another class in early spring for the training of the five additional firefighters. 

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frank christian January 8, 2013 | 8:00 p.m.

New union firefighters, free for two years, then...?

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks January 8, 2013 | 8:57 p.m.

$65,812 is a lot of money to be paying 5 brand new fire fighters. Hell that is a lot to pay a lot of people. Seems they could hire 8 new ones instead on a 2 year contract. Or higher them with the intent on in 2 years 5-8 of the oldest serving be retired.
What I would rather see personally is hiring 4 new Paramedic specific with 2 SUV/Truck vehicles who's sole purpose during the day is to elevate the need for the entire fire house to load up and roll out to respond to a vehicular accident or a 911 call for heart attach. I would rather not take this blood money in the first place but you know the City will not resist the spending urge so might as well make it count.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 8, 2013 | 9:12 p.m.

Remember the old story? They all hate government waste, but if the money is there, They have to get it for Their Constituents!.

(Report Comment)

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