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SEMINOLE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT AWARDED $7+ MILLION FEDERAL GRANT TO HIRE ADDITIONAL FIREFIGHTERS

By DOREEN OVERSTREET, Correspondent | September 16, 2021 | FLORIDA

Story No. 091621102

Seminole County, Fla. – The Seminole County Fire Department (SCFD) was recently awarded a $7,321,470 federal grant to hire 30 additional firefighters and paramedics to serve the community.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants funded by FEMA was created to provide funding to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, frontline firefighters available in their communities. This is the first time the Seminole County Fire Department has received a SAFER Grant.
The $7.3 million grant will cover 100% of the personnel expenses associated with the cost of hiring 30 new full-time firefighters for a three-year period with no matching cost required. Once the grant has been expended, the Seminole County Fire Department will be responsible for maintaining the cost of the positions.

“The Seminole County Fire Department is fortunate to receive this grant that will provide service enhancements in the most densely populated areas of Seminole County,” said Fire Chief Otto Drozd III. “We are thankful for the support of the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners and the hardworking staff at Seminole County Fire Department for helping to obtain this grant. We recently hired a new class of 23 firefighters and this SAFER grant enables us to fund an incoming class of 30 additional firefighters who will start training in the near future.”

Currently, the Seminole County Fire Department has more than 450 frontline firefighters and paramedics serving the unincorporated areas of Seminole County along with the cities of Altamonte Springs, Winter Springs and Casselberry.
“Seminole County is committed to the public safety of our more than 450,000 residents,” said Deputy County Manager Joe Abel. “Our population has increased by nearly 14% since 2010, so this federal grant helps us maintain a steadfast commitment to safe, efficient public safety response in our community.”

More than 1,900 SAFER Grants have been awarded since they were first offered in 2015 with the goal of enhancing local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). For details, visit the National Fire Protection Association webpage at www.nfpa.org and for details on the FEMA grant, visit www.FEMA.org.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.