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Bondurant Emergency Services receives a SAFER grant from FEMA.

By: City of Bondurant
Date Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
 

Bondurant Emergency Services receives a SAFER grant from FEMA.

The SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant was established to provide funding directly to career, combination, and volunteer fire departments.  The grant is to help them increase the number of trained front-line firefighters available in their communities.

The goal of SAFER grant is to enhance the local fire departments ability to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by NFPA and OSHA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720 and OSHA 1910.134 – see page 9 of the “2007 SAFER Program Guidance”).  Specifically, the SAFER grant funds should assist local fire departments to increase their staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies whenever they may occur. Because of the enhanced staffing, response times should be reduced with an appropriate number of personnel assembled at the incident scene.  In addition, the enhanced staffing should provide that all front-line/first-due apparatus of SAFER grantees have a minimum of four trained personnel to meet the OSHA standards referenced above. Ultimately, the grant will help us operate at a faster, safer and more efficient level of response. In turn, this will give the community increased protection from fire and fire-related hazards.

Bondurant City Council tasked the department heads with developing a long-term staffing plan early in 2018.  While developing the long-term staffing plan it was identified early on that of course with the continued growth of our community, additional responders are and will continue to be a necessity.  The SAFER Grant award puts Bondurant Emergency Services five to eight years ahead of what would have been possible without the grant.  The additional personnel will allow us to better perform the fire ground tasks that need to be accomplished.  Proper staffing on the scene is critical for the safety of our firefighters.  New homes are more energy efficient than older homes and this causes heat to be held in the homes which then causes them to burn hotter and faster.  The faster we can attack the fire, the quicker we can stabilize the incident.  Recent studies by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) show that flashover can occur at a house fire in less than 10 minutes.  By having additional personnel, we can work to ensure that all of our firefighters are able to take the proper breaks and be given rehab.  Without the funding of this grant, we would continue to have difficulties responding during the period when paid-per-call employees are not available.

On August 20, 2018, Bondurant City Council approved Bondurant Emergency Services to accept the grant.  The grant was a request to add three fulltime firefighters and 6 part-time firefighters to staffing during peak times of operation in an effort to supplement the paid-per-call staff when they were traditionally understaffed.

Since that time, Bondurant Emergency Services staff have been developing pay structures, schedules, job descriptions and ultimately conducting interviews of the qualified candidates.  At this time, we have decided upon January 28, 2019 as the hire date for the new employees.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will be going through the orientation phase with the new hires.  We are looking forward to our increased level of staffing. 

Along with the SAFER Grant, we are also continually increasing the number of paid-per-call employees.