Grant provides funds for two more Flossmoor fire captains

The Flossmoor Fire Department has an opportunity to add two new shift captains to its full-time staff thanks in part to a $348,992 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

Funding is coming from a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) grant program designed to provide funding to help increase or maintain highly-trained firefighters in the nation’s communities. 
With only one full-time shift captain currently on staff, Assistant Fire Chief Keith Damm said the SAFER grant will be a significant boon to the strength and stability of the department as it will offset a portion of salary costs for the next three years.
“Currently two of our shifts are led by contract employees. We’ve made the system work to this point, but the trouble is we see a lot of turnover as contract firefighters gain full-time employment with other departments,” Damm said. “Now, with this grant money, we can put time, training and other resources toward our own full-time shift leaders without the risk of losing them in 16 to 18 months.”
According to FEMA, the goal of SAFER is to enhance a local fire departments’ ability to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association’s codes and standards.
Nearly $350 million was awarded in 2017 through the SAFER grant program, and award amounts were based on a number of need-assessed factors including department size, community population, territory size, and more.
“By adding two more sworn, full-time shift leaders, we’re able to bring a level of stability to the department that we weren’t able to achieve through contract employees,” Damm said. “It has been apparent to us for some time now that we needed to have more long-term resources available, and we’re thankful that SAFER will help us do that.”
Firefighter testing is currently underway and the department hopes to fill the two captain positions in the next few months.

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