Riverside will hire 3 more firefighters with SAFER grant

Published: Sunday, September 22, 2019 @ 1:59 PM

JIM WITMER / STAFF
JIM WITMER / STAFF

Riverside plans to hire three new firefighters thanks to a federal grant.

The Riverside Fire Department was awarded the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from FEMA.

This grant will allow the Riverside Fire Department to hire three full-time firefighters for three years.

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“This is a step in the right direction that we’re hoping to go to for the fire department,” said Riverside Fire Chief Dan Stitzel.

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The grant brings in $214,000 for the firefighters’ wages and benefits over the next two years. The third year the grant will bring in about $100,000. The SAFER grant covers 75% of the salary of the new firefighters in the first two years and 35% of their salaries in the third year.

After the third year, the city is not obligated to keep the three new positions.

Stitzel said he hopes to have the three new firefighters hired by January 1. Stitzel hopes to hire two entry level firefighters and one above entry level firefighter.

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One setback the department currently faces, Stitzel said, is the loss of part-time firefighters.

“One of the drawbacks is that I have lost a couple more part-time people. One of my part-time people just took a job with the city of Xenia and a couple of my people on my list to be full-time for the SAFER grant are part-time,” Stitzel said. “So if I transition them to full-time, it kind of hurts that other side as well.”