September 8, 2016 (Flint, Mich) — Flint Mayor Karen Weaver joined Raymond Barton, Chief of the Flint Fire Department at Fire Station 1 Thursday morning to announce the city has once again been awarded the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Flint will receive $3,767,280 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the grant application written primarily by Chief Barton and Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Carrie Edwards was approved.
The SAFER is a competitive grant. The Flint Fire Department had to compete with fire departments across the country for the funding. When Chief Barton was appointed to his position earlier this year, he said one of his top priorities was to bring the SAFER grant back. Now that the grant has been restored, he said it’s not only a victory for the fire department, but for the residents and the City of Flint overall.
“It will give us the ability to open Fire Station 8 back up which was browned out over the last three years and opened less than 10 times,” Barton commented. “We currently run at a minimum staff of 14 people a day. That’s because of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations. But, getting an additional 33 people will allow us to add another 11 firefighters per shift, so we could almost double our staff.”
Barton said the department has lost about 33 firefighters over the last two years. The SAFER grant will provide the much needed funding to restore all 33 positions bringing the total number of firefighters in Flint to 91.
“Our firefighters have been doing an outstanding job with so few people on duty, so this funding and the new people we’ll be able to bring onboard will just help make the department even better,” said Barton.
Officials are looking to hire Firefighter EMTs and Firefighter EMT trainees. Carrie Edwards said candidates will be trained within the Flint Fire Department. She urged resilient, strong Flint residents18 years and older with a high school diploma or GED to apply for the positions.
“We love our community,” said Edwards. “We want to hire City of Flint residents to serve and protect the citizens of Flint.”
Mayor Weaver said getting the SAFER grant is another positive and exciting development in the City of Flint.
“There are good things happening here,” said Weaver. “We’re building up our fire and police departments. We’ve got crews out working to replace lead-tainted pipes. Flint’s own Claressa Shields just made history winning two Olympic gold medals for boxing. New businesses are coming to the city. There are a lot of positive things to focus on. Yes, we still have a long way to go, but we are headed in the right direction.”