Fire and rescue can hire more firefighters thanks to grant from U.S. Homeland Security

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Frederick Fire and Rescue Services will be hiring more than 40 firefighters thanks to $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Frederick County Fire Chief Thomas Owens says he can’t remember a time in recent history where more than 40 firefighters were hired at one time.

“It was going to take several years just through the county’s budget process because we would not be able to fund the number of total fire fighters that were necessary and the county executive was fully supportive of us applying for a safer grant,” said Frederick County Fire Chief Thomas Owens.

Roughly 40 positions were lost over the past two years due to attrition so the funding will replace those positions.

The goal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Safety Grant is to enhance the ability of maintaining 24-hour staffing.

“If you really look for people to understand where we are in terms of station staffing, the best way I can relate why this is very important to our community is right now, we sacrificed one type of service in favor of the other based on whatever call is dispatched,” said Chief Owens.

Officials say overall, the money will now allow their firefighters to spread out their tasks; making it safer for both the community and safety officials.

“The impact on the county budget from year to year is we can only fund so many new firefighter positions. It would take quite a number to be able to move the units to tactical staffing within our plan,” said Chief Owens.

Frederick County Fire and Rescue only has 180 days to fill the vacancies.

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