$2M grant allows Fla. fire dept. to hire 21 new responders

A SAFER Grant will pay for 75 percent of the newly-hired firefighters’ and EMS providers’ salaries for the next two years

By News Staff

NORTH PORT, Fla. — A federal grant will allow a fire department to hire more first responders to serve their growing community.

ABC 7 reported that North Coast Fire Rescue is now able to hire 21 more firefighters and EMS providers thanks to a SAFER Grant of around $2 million.

“For the masses, you want to make sure that you can provide the services for the community, and make sure that there is enough man power in place so when there are occasions and issues within the city that you can deal with them correctly and timely," newly-hired EMT Ken Bryan said.

The SAFER Grant will pay for 75 percent of the new hires’ salaries for the next two years, and 35 percent of their salaries in the third year.

“That’s a significant savings to the citizens here in our community. To bring all those people on, would be extremely impactful and very hard to absorb. This allows us to do it over a three to four year period, and it makes it a lot more palatable,” Chief Scott Titus said.

The city will now have 37 responders working per shift, and the new staff said they are determined to bring the community together.

“A lot of the individuals that are here now are very diverse. We have a very good understanding of what it is that North Port Fire is going to bring for us as individuals, and as a group, and that’s why I took this job,” Bryan said.

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