FEMA grants Girard extension to consider SAFER fire grant

GIRARD — The Federal Emergency Management Agency granted a 30-day extension to the city to accept a federal grant that would increase staffing for the Girard Fire Department.

Mayor James Melfi decided to reject the $281,247 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that was awarded to the fire department to hire three additional full-time firefighters/paramedics because of costs.

The city would pay $38,006 the first and second year and then $98,816 the third year.

But, as The Vindicator reported Wednesday, firefighter Brian Pearson pointed out at the Tuesday night meeting, the city will already be paying at least $225,000 this year for overtime costs, and even with that, the department often doesn't meet minimum safety standards set by the National Fire Protection Association due to current staffing levels, which states four personnel must be on-duty at all times.

The department has 10 full-time firefighters and two captains.

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