The Liberty Township Fire Department (LTFD) has been awarded the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The grant will reimburse $1.36 million over the next three years for the additional staffing of nine new full-time Firefighter/EMT positions.
Fire Chief Ethan Klussman and his department applied for the grant earlier this year as a means to maximize staffing while minimizing the budget’s impact. It’s also a partial solution to the ongoing challenge of finding and retaining part-time employees. With the grant, the LTFD will reduce its reliance on part-time personnel from six per day to three per day.
“This is excellent news for the Liberty Township Fire Department, and I want to commend Battalion Chief Rob Morton who took the lead on the grant application. We’ve been working towards a plan which would add career Firefighter/EMT positions, and being awarded FEMA’s SAFER grant allows us to expedite our process. Adding nine full-time positions will allow us to provide the consistent personnel we need to run the department more efficiently,” said Klussman.
The SAFER grant provides funding for 75% of the salary and benefits of an entry-level firefighter for the first two years. In year three, the grant covers 35% of the new hire’s salary and benefits.
“We’ve got to give credit to Chief Klussman and his team for identifying the opportunity and being awarded the grant amongst significant national competition. When we hired the Chief two years ago, we charged him with developing a future path for the LTFD. His initiative and commitment to finding long-term solutions to ongoing challenges has been impressive,” said Steve Schramm, President, Liberty Township Board of Trustees.
The LTFD has been working on a plan to add career Firefighter/EMT positions. Because of this advanced planning, the Township is confident of its abilities to support the staffing profile beyond the three years of grant funding.
“Congratulations to Chief Klussman and his team at the Liberty Township Fire Department. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant is a competitive grant program administered by FEMA. Chief Klussman contacted my office early this year to inform us of the township’s application. I was happy to provide a letter of support. With this award, Liberty Township will be able to hire 9 additional first responders to protect and serve its residents and visitors,” said Congressman Warren Davidson.
Since Fiscal Year 2004 the Department of Homeland Security, through FEMA, has been awarding the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act to fire departments across the country. This Congressional Act provides funding to fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help their communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.