BERRYVILLE, Va. (WDVM) — Clarke County will be adding five additional firefighters and EMS personnel this year, thanks to increased federal funding.
Under the SAFER grant funding, the county received $600,000 to hire five new full-time staff members to join the department, nearly doubling the current career firefighting and EMS staff. Currently the county employees seven full-time firefighters and EMS workers, in addition to the 160 volunteers in the county.
The department’s director, Brian Lichty, says the new hires should help the county reduce the response time for emergencies.
“The grant covers 75% of the base salary and benefits, 75% of it for the first two years, and then on the third year it’s 35%,” Lichty said. “Then the fourth year, it’s zero percent and the county has to assume 100% responsibility for them.”
The county is required to hire the new personnel within 180 days of receiving the funding.